Middle School STEAM: Paper Chairs

My middle school STEAM class just completed the most dramatic phase of their paper chair project- building for strength. As you can see, it went well.

paper chair_edited_2
With 40 pieces of computer paper and a roll of scotch tape, a team of middle schoolers built this chair.  In a later test, it supported almost 150 lbs. before collapsing.

Building and testing is exiting and extremely fun, but it has the potential to be chaotic. Emotions run high, there are dramatic structural failures, and startling successes. Less mature students often have trouble dealing with it all. I am on very high alert the whole time to make sure nothing gets out of hand.

This class is particularly challenging.  It is a group of 12 with 2 students who have very severe ADHD, 1 student with diagnosed autism, 2 students who may have undiagnosed autism, and 1 student with very underdeveloped social skills.  In addition, the academic skills of the children range from moderately above grade level to severely below grade level.

I am  proud of the fact that *almost* everyone in the class was truly working hard and on their best behavior. Its still relatively early in the year, so I am optimistic that before the year is out we’ll get everyone truly working together.


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