How it works:
This elemental three-way joint can be expanded to create any n-sided joint by simply adding additional bent stirrers. With three, four and five-sided joints, children can create basic forms like the platonic solids, gaining an understanding of fundamental polyhedral geometries.
Strawchitecture in the classroom:
Using triangles as the fundamental unit of stability, strawchitecture became an incredibly inspiring tool to explore tessellations, trusses, and even creative narrative in schools. I had the opportunity to lead several workshops with students at Cold Spring Elementary where we prompted students with building challenges. Teachers ordered thousands of straws from the local restaurant depot, giving their students access to a virtually limitless STEM building kit without straining classrooms budgets.
Build the tallest free-standing structure you can in 20 minutes.
Tell a story with straws so the sculpture represents the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Free association: Build a wild and crazy idea with a partner.
After teaching several straw classes with students, I was asked to lead a STEM teacher's workshop showing Math and Science teachers how they might incorporate straws into their curriculum. Whether it was geometric proofs, tessellations, bridge trusses, or even theater props, strawchitecture was an accessible and creative building medium to help children think out loud.
I hope to continue teaching straw workshops and create a online strawchitecture community were children and educators alike can share inspiring straw creations. I'm also currently researching more sustainable paper straw materials that have similar strengths and tolerances to standard plastic straws.