Year 3 children at Stowford School were challenge to design and make a rope for the Yanomami tribe, using only paper, as part of their work about the Amazon rainforest.
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) project involved the pupils thinking about how the tribe might use a rope (to build shelters, trap animals or climb trees for food) and what properties it should have. They decided that the most important properties were that it should be light, flexible and strong. They then looked at how rope and string were constructed and found that several strands of fibre were combined. After that, each group designed a “rope” and worked together to create their design.
Once their prototype was complete, they invited a year 5 class to come along and put them to the test, with Mr Nute, who is one of the teachers responsible for STEM, choosing an overall winner from the designs that passed the trials.
Year 3 teacher Anne Burns said, “It has been a fascinating project for the children and they came up with some really ingenious ways of combining the paper to give it strength. Only 3 of the prototypes failed to support 500g in the strength test and all of the designs passed the flexibility and weight test. The children had to think really creatively and cooperate well to solve the challenge and it was a great way to end a topic that has really engaged the children.”