The Background

When Ethan and Ayana were little folk, their engineering talents were already astounding. When a hurricane came through town, it felled 4 giant trees in their backyard, yet somehow, their little Teepee stood proudly unscathed. Not a single branch was to of place.

Childs teepee withstands a hurricane

How did they do that?

This might have you thinking “How is that even possible?” Well, not to say these young innovators are not brilliant (because clearly, they are) but there is in fact another reason. It has to do with wind load and the object being blown by the wind. 

Take these two characters, the Big Bulky Duck and the Dainty Little Gal. You may think because the duck is bigger and seems stronger, he wouldn’t get knocked over in the wind. Wrong. Actually, because Bulky Duck has more surface area, more wind will hit him and needless to stay, when the wind picks up, he will not be the last man standing.  Little Gal is so small, she sort of slips right through the wind.

materials needed

  • 3DuxDesign connectors or complete architecture set (which includes cardboard and. crayons)
  • single ply corrugated cardboard from recycled box 
  • table fan (with adult supervision only)
  • ruler (optional)
  • crayons 

Connectors Set / variety

Give it a try yourself - make characters

For this activity, you will need to create a Big Bulky Character and a Smaller Slender Character. 

1. You can cut out the body, arms and head for each from any single ply cardboard you have in the home. Have your young designer decorate them and stand them up using the same shape and number of connectors for each.* 

2. For children that have learned area, you can have your child measure the total area of each character by measuring the area of each body part and then adding them. Be sure to make some fun shapes like triangle and circle so they need to use these geometry books to calculate the area!

*If one character has a different number of connectors than the other, the experiment may not work. You can ask your child why this might be so (The answer may include reasons like - a lower center of gravity and better thus better balance, or more mass in the characters with more connectors)

Do your experiment

Now set up your two characters on a flat surface facing a fan. They should be the same distance from the fan. If one is facing the fan on an angle, the experiment won't work! When your characters are ready, turn on the fan and see what happens. You will need to work with your child to find the right distance for the experiment to work but with some trial and error, the bigger character should be the first to fall. Watch our video to see how it should turn out.

how to submit your experiment for sharing


1. must include at least 3 square photos 

2. optional - show your work - calculate the area of each character and your hypothesis? Which one do you think will fall first and why.

3. optional video presentation with link to youtube or vimeo content- 

4.  any photo or video with child needs signed release 

5. share your post on Facebook and/or instagram with tags for a chance to win prizes @3duxdesign and @billionboxproject @3duxuniversity