Friday, March 14, 2014

Buildings' Bases a Homeschool Lesson with Legos

For our lesson today we wondered which base would support the biggest building. We used Legos to explore this idea. As a constant we only built on base patterns consisting of four dots. We learned these are called TETRIMINOS. In other words, shapes composed of four cubes connected orthogonally. 

Can you guess which one of our favorite video games was inspired by tetriminos? Find the answer here...

The first thing we had to do was find the Legos we would need to build our towers and LOTS of them since we figured they would be pretty tall. Big thanks to Bing for helping us find the bricks we needed. 

Next we started building. We tried to make our first tower on the table but found it too hard to reach the top after a certain point so we moved the experiment down to the floor. In order to figure out the height limitations, we stacked the bricks as high as possible until we couldn't balance it anymore and the tower fell over 3 times. 

Square Base: 105 Bricks Tall

Line Base: 72 Bricks Tall

Corner Base: 129 Bricks Tall

Z Shaped Base: 103 Bricks Tall

It took a lot of concentration not to knock the towers over just by adding more Legos.

There were moments when we had to hold our breath to make sure nothing shook.

It was totally worth the effort when we topped our previous record. (Even the minifigs were excited!)


Sometimes it was frustrating but we had to remember that the point of the experiment was to make the towers topple so we could record the data.

In the end our initial hypothesis was correct an the Corner Shaped Base made the tallest tower when we stacked it up against the competition. However, we learned there were other factors that might influence the outcome if the experiment was repeated. Things like; how often you switch the pattern of the bricks in the Corner and Z Shaped Bases can affect the integrity of the structure, it's easier to add lines in chunks rather than one at a time upon nearing the top of the tower, and when dogs walk by it almost always falls over. 

This was a really fun experiment and we encourage you to
please try this at home!

P.S. As an unintended side effect, we also learned about perspective in photography. This tetrimino is stacked on more than 100 bricks even though it appears to be on big Lego.