Paper Table Design Challenge is completed in teams of no more than 3 students working together to create a table out of newspaper. The table must be at least 8 inches tall and able to hold a plastic tub that is 15” long and 11” inches wide. During the finals, this tub will be gradually filled with sand to determine the maximum weight the table can hold. The maximum weight will be recorded as soon as any portion of the table crimps, bends, or folds. When a table fails and is no longer structurally sound will be determined by the judge and all decisions are final. The teams must do all construction of the Paper Table during the 1-hour time frame provided during the competition.
Certificate awards are given for maximum weight held, teamwork, efficiency (ratio of weight held divided by the mass of table).
**Due to COVID-19 we are making the following changes. These plans are TENTATIVE as the situation continues to change.
VIRTUAL Paper Table Challenge
- Submit your table to Central Rivers AEA through van mail (in a box or safe container) or deliver in person to Cedar Falls or Kay at Clear Lake by May 12th
- May 13th – Kay and Mandie will weigh and measure and post results through video or Facebook live, etc
Central Rivers AEA – Cedar Falls
1521 Technology Parkway
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
2019- Cedar Falls office
2020-Clear Lake office
Date: Virtually on May 13th, 2020
$10 per team (maximum of 3 per team, no minimum)
Register via online
No limit on the number of teams from a district but we can only accept 15 total teams
Registration closed on March 12th
Team trophy and medals for first place – maximum weight held
Medals for 2nd and 3rd place – maximum weight held
Team trophy and medals for first place – efficiency
Medals for 2nd place and 3rd place – efficiency
Certificate award: Teamwork Award
Each participant will receive a certificate
Teams must bring
Scissors (no Exacto-knives or paper cutters!)
Signed media release for each student and adult
YOU MAY NOT BRING PRE CONSTRUCTED ELEMENTS for your table. All building must be done on-site.
We will supply
1 standard roll (60 yards) of masking tape (approximately 1”)
Judges will use this scoring sheet
At the start of judging, each group will be asked by the judges, “Tell us about your table and why you built it this way”
After students share, tables will be weighed. This will be used to calculate the efficiency of the table- (ratio of weight held divided by the mass of the table).
After the initial weight is taken, the plastic tub will be placed on the table by the students. If the table successfully holds the plastic tub, sand will be gradually added until the table structurally fails. At this point, the plastic tub with sand will be weighed.
Teams may not bring any pre-made elements. All building must be done on-site.
Teams must conduct themselves in a manner that adheres to safety concerns.
Teacher or coach may not assist their teams or provide advice during the competition. Coaches will be asked to remain in the coaches’ area of the room unless they are needed for emergency or behavioral concerns.
Judges’ decisions are final.
Paper Table must be free-standing and not attached to anything (floor, table, etc.)
How is the efficiency calculated?
The weight of the tub/sand is divided by the weight of the table. The higher the value of that number, the better the efficiency is. For example, a 1.2-pound table holds 10 pounds of sand would be calculated at 10 divided by 1.2 = 8.33 but a 1.9-pound table that holds 10 pounds of sand would have an efficiency of 5.26. This means the “lighter” table has higher efficiency, even though it held the same amount of weight.
What if more than one table holds the same amount of weight and there is a tie?
Efficiency rating will be used to break any ties.
Can we bring extra tape?
No. We will supply one full roll (60 yards) and that is the maximum amount of tape each group can use.
Can we bring a 4th student as an alternate?
No. If you have 4 students, consider creating 2 teams of 2 students each.
My 5th and 6th grades are in a middle school – can they participate?
Your 5th grade is eligible, but the 6th grade is not. The science team now has events for all grade levels and we ask that K-2 students only attend the Discover and Wonder experience, grades 3-5 attend the Paper Table Challenge, grades 6-8th attend the Middle School Paper Roller Coaster, and 9th-12th attend the High School Paper Roller Coaster event.
When the challenge is held in Cedar Falls in 2019, Clear Lake 2020 and so forth – does that mean that that year’s event is only open to schools in that area, or is it open to all schools in Central Rivers AEA?
No, just because it is held in one of our 3 offices does not mean it is limited to schools only in that area. You are welcome to attend as many years as you would like.