Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Building, Part 3: Triangles and Paper Dowel Geodesic Dome

Do you think with paper dowel,
you could build some Taj Mahals?
Perhaps the Pyramids would do
or artful halls of Timbuktu?
Some might think it even finer
To create Great Walls of China.
Aeropolis or Parthenon
or any building, hither, yon.
Along the way may this thought stick:
Tall walls begins with a single brick!
-GEMS Build It! Festival

Which shape is more stable, a triangle or a square?
The task of this week was to build a structure that would stand out of newspaper and tape only. The dowels are just made from newspapers rolled up and taped together.

 Rolling the newspapers and measuring the tubes is time-consuming. This activity worked better when I did it with a co-op group because each kid is only rolling a few tubes. I ended up rolling most of the tubes and then they attached them to the growing dome helping each other with the taping.
The dome's joints are weak spots. Use plenty of tape to reinforce them.

A dome must support its own dead load as well as the live load of wind, rain, snow, or ice. The geodesic dome's strength is due to the fact that triangles are very stable shapes. It is difficult to distort a triangle; compression at one joint is balanced by tension along the opposite side. The geodesic dome's design distributes loads over all of the different triangles that comprise it.
You may add tension rings around the bottom of the dome or divide some or all of the triangular panels into smaller triangles in order for it to be stable.

Triangles are a shape that can be tessellated, or arranged to form a tiling pattern.


  1. What a great activity! I could see something like this being a big hit here too. I love the look of concentration on each face in your photos!

  2. I love the photo at the bottom!


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