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Veronika Kapsali (case study)

For her research, Veronika looked at how pine cones close when the weather is wet and open when it is dry. Pine cones do this to give their seeds the best chance of flying far away from the tree so that they can grow into new trees far away. In the rain, the seeds will not fly as far and will end up competing with...

Concrete canvas (case study)

Concrete Canvas is an example of a deployable structure. It is a flexible, cement-containing fabric that hardens on contact with water to form a thin, durable, waterproof and fire-resistant concrete layer. Essentially, it’s concrete on a roll. Applications include erosion control and building vent walls in mines....

Solar panels

This resource looks at some of the mathematics behind using solar panels to generate electricity both for use in the home and to power cars. The mathematics involved requires the calculation of complicated areas and using multiple bits of information to solve a problem. As such, the resource is ideal for enhancing...

Rolling bridges

This resource is based on Thomas Heatherwick’s rolling bridge at Paddington Basin in London. Rolling bridges are also used in areas after natural disasters to provide temporary crossings. There are exercises involving the mathematical analysis of the design and some basic construction of models of the bridge. The...

Mosquito nets

This resource is based around the subject of nets to protect people from mosquitos which spread malaria. It includes various mathematical, discussion and design based exercises. The maths topics covered include nets, area, angles and scale.

Equipment required for the main challenge includes plastic straws...

Maths beneath my feet

This resource gives a very practical use of basic mathematics that might be used by a tradesperson in his/her work. The activity is based around carpeting/flooring rooms. It involves the use of area and lots of calculations which resemble the functional skills questions in GCSE maths exams.

No specialist...

Group umbrella

This resource is a set of instructions for groups of six students to make a working umbrella mechanism out of simple materials. It is a completely practical activity with no formal maths content but it is very useful for linking the students’ work on deployable structures to a real piece of engineering that they...

Flowers

This resource is designed as an introduction to deployable structures using flowers as an example from the natural world. It has activities associated with nets and density and discussion of a link to symmetry and transformations. There are also various practical suggestions (such as making a party blower).

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Smartphone projector

In this STEM club activity, students build their own smartphone projector using a mobile phone, shoebox and a magnifying lens.

Earthquake proof

In this STEM club activity, students design and build an earthquake-resistant two-storey structure, considering principles of earthquake engineering and design such as the importance of a solid foundation, wide base, symmetrical design and trusses.