Grade 5

Grade: Five

Topic: Understanding structures and mechanism, forces acting on structures/mechanisms

Design Challenge:

Students will research, design, and build (using the materials and tools provided) a billboard that yields to excessively high winds found in Tornado Alley, without collapsing. The billboard should require very little effort and/or materials to return it to its original state. Students will record their results, make modifications and re-test (if time permits), and complete a report on the steps they took to solve the design challenge.

OCTE 2012 – Elementary Conference Workshops

billboard design sample


  • CSA approved safety glasses/goggles, one pair per person (parent volunteers included),
  • a first aid kit (please see your Board's Health and Safety Regulations if one is being purchased for your classroom);
  • an approved eyewash station; this can be two eyewash bottles containing approved eyewash fluid that has not reached its expiry time limit after decanting, or an installed system (an actual eyewash station, or approved faucet attachment);
  • pliers, one pair for every 5-6 projects;
  • scissors, one pair for every project (students may supply their own);
  • rulers, one per project;
  • pushpins, one for every project (to create holes for the paperclip pivots);
  • one gram/newton spring scale (for testing);
  • one reasonably strong fan;
  • string (about 3 m).


  • straws, 18-20 per project;
  • square of card stock 8" x 6" (23 cm x 15 cm), one per project; material from cereal boxes may be substituted;
  • long thumbtacks, or small finishing nails, up to 8 per project (to make pivoting sign sections),
  • found materials, to incorporate into the wind absorption system (e.g., pen springs); the teacher must approve of an item before a student is allowed to use it;
  • 50 cm of masking tape per project.