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Experiments

Honey-Comb Bones

What You Need: 

    • Empty cardboard cereal box
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Tape or stapler


    Question: Why are bones so strong?

    1) First, use the scissors to cut five 9-inch cardboard strips from the cereal box. The strips should be about 1 1/2 inches wide .

    2) Then, fold one of the strips into a hexagon shape. That’s a shape with six equal sides. Leave a little bit of extra cardboard so that you can fasten the ends with tape or staples. Don’t fasten the ends yet .

    3) Use the first cardboard strip to model the other strips, so that they are all the same size and shape.

    4) Now fasten the strips so that you have five hexagon shapes.

    5) Attach three hexagons together in a row. Put them together by fastening the flat sides face-to-face. The hexagons should look like a honey-comb.

    6) Now, attach the other two hexagons on top of the row of three. Fasten all the sides that touch.

    7) Stand the rows of hexagons upright. Press down on the hexagons. What do you notice?


    A Scientific Explanation:

    The human bone is made up of tiny hexagons like the ones you made. The six-sides of the hexagon help distribute, or spread, weight which make the bones very strong. The hollow center of the hexagon allows veins and nerves to run through the bone. The hexagon shape is so effective that the human thighbone is as strong as the concrete used to build skyscrapers!


    EXTRA! EXTRA!

    Try this experiment again using round or square shapes. How are these shapes alike? How are they different? Which shape is the strongest to build from?