To make the strongest chair possible using newspapers.


30 full broad newspaper sheets
(63cm x 60cm) -- The Edmonton Journal or Calgary Herald are examples of broadsheet newspapers. Do not use tabloid style newspapers like the Edmonton and Calgary Sun. Discard half sheets (31.5cm x 30cm). *Note: Collect newspapers early. Try recycling depots or ask students to save newspapers from home. Local print media may be willing to donate extra newspapers.

Weights --  Use anything stackable. Paper chairs may hold more than it seems. All weights used must be weighed and recorded. Suggestions: Bricks or concrete blocks (try local hardware stores), heavy books, large containers, or pop and milk bottles filled with water, or ideas of your own. Once again, have students collect items in advance, and have an abundant supply.

Bathroom scale -- Or equivalent. 

Ruler/measuring tape

Masking tape -- 1 roll per team (18mm x 55m)

*Optional: Plywood boards (approximately 45cm x 45cm, 12mm thick) -- Place on seat to help hold and stack weight.


Students may cut newspaper any way they wish. The seat of the chair must be a minimum of 25 cm off the ground. Students have one hour to complete the project. Have students test the amount of weight their chairs will hold. Using combinations, add weight on seat in increments. If desired, place plywood on seat to help stack weight. Continue to add weight (and plywood) until chair reaches limit. Do not overload. The chair may be strong enough to seat a classmate or teacher. If so, it must bear full weight of person (feet off the floor).