Science Activity
#10 - Building a Geodesic Dome
All experiments must be done in the presence of a parent or teacher.
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Ideas
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Key Words
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Materials
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Procedure
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Observations
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Summary
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Questions
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WWW Links

Ideas to be Developed
Geodesic domes are made of interlocking geometric shapes - often triangles, pentagons, and hexagons- to form a three dimensional shape of incredible strength.

Key Words

pentagon- a plane figure with five sides and angles.

hexagon- a plane figure with six sides and angles.


Materials Required
  • newspaper
  • doweling or broom handle
  • tape
  • marker pen
  • stapler (and staples)
  • measuring tape

Procedure
  1. Open up a sheet of newspaper. Roll the newspaper around the doweling
    diagonally from one corner to the other.
  2. Cut a piece of tape and stick it to something (preferably not your
    head) for a minute. Hold the newspaper tube in one hand and gently pull
    out the dowel with your other hand. If you rolled the newspaper really
    tightly, you may need to wiggle and twist the dowel a bit. Use the piece
    of tape to keep the newspaper tube together.
  3. Cut the tube to length. [Note: The ends of the tube are not very stiff.
    To make a stronger tube, make the tube the correct length by cutting some
    off both ends.] You need a total of 35 newspaper tubes measuring 71 cm and
    30 tubes measuring 66 cm. So get busy rolling, measuring, and cutting.
    Keep the two lengths separated.
  4. Use the marker pen to put a mark on the longer newspaper tubes. Now
    you'll be able to tell the two lengths apart easily. From now on, we will
    call the marked tubes As, the unmarked tubes Bs.
  5. Arrange 10 As in a circle.
  6. Overlap the ends of two tubes by 2 cm and staple together. Repeat this
    to form the base of the dome.
  7. Lay alternating pairs of As and Bs radiating out from the central
    circle.
  8. Pick up two of the As and form a triangle with them and one of the As
    from the circle. Staple the joints firmly.
  9. Do the same thing with the rest of the tube pairs. You should end up
    with a circle of triangles poking into the air. Tall triangles should
    alternate with short triangles.
  10. Connect the triangles by stapling a row of Bs across the top.
  11. Every point where four Bs come together, staple on another B pointing
    straight up.
  12. Brace the Bs by using two As, one attached to each adjacent joint.
  13. Connect the tubes by stapling a row of As across the top.
  14. Finish the dome by adding the last five Bs. These tubes come from the
    five joints and meet in the middle.

How to build a geodesic dome: a more complete description with pictures.


Observations
Students should pay attention to the design characteristics that make this structure so strong. Students should also consider some of the difficulties in completing this project, and what would make it run more smoothly.

Summary

Questions
1. Name two things in our world that employ the use of the geodesic dome structure.

 

2. What is the name of the individual that popularized the geodesic dome design? What else do you know about this individual?

 

 

3. Geodesic domes join two other forms of pure carbon. What are these other two forms?

 

 

4. What is a buckyball?

 


WWW Links
Carbon Cage- buckyballs

Geodesic Dome building

 


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Ideas
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Key Words
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Materials
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Procedure
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Observations
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Summary
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Questions
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WWW Links

Howard Debeck Elementary School
8600 Ash Street Richmond, B.C. V6Y 1S2
Phone: 604-668-6281 - Fax: 604-668-6004


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