Students learn about applied forces as they create pop-up-books — the art of paper engineering. They also learn the basic steps of the engineering design process.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standard Network (ASN), a project of JES & Co. (www.jesandco.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Click on the standard groupings to explore this hierarchy as it applies to this document.
- Colorado: Science
- a. Predict and evaluate the movement of an object by examining the forces applied to it (Grade 8)  ...show
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- H. Modeling, testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical solutions. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- H. Apply a design process to solve problems in and beyond the laboratory-classroom. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- J. Make two-dimensional and three-dimensional representations of the designed solution. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. (Grades 3 - 5)  ...show
- Define a force and identify several forces in their environment.
- Understand how forces work in a pop-up book.
- Use brainstorming as a means to generate ideas for a work of art.
- Use the engineering design process to create a product for a client..
- white printer paper (regular 8.5 x 11-inch size)
- colored construction paper
- several pop-up or movable books from the library or home
- stapler (or needle and thread to stitch through several sheets of paper)
- How to Make Tabs (attachment)
- How to Make Flaps (attachment)
- Understand the need: What is the problem? What do I want to do? What are the project requirements? What are the limitations? Who is the customer? What is the goal? Gather information and research what others have done.
- Brainstorm and design: Imagine and brainstorm ideas. Be creative. Investigate existing technologies and methods to use. Explore, compare and analyze many possible solutions. Select the most promising idea.
- Plan: Draw a diagram of your idea. How will it work? What materials and tools are needed? How will you test it to make sure it works?
- Create: Assign team tasks. Build a prototype. Does it work? Talk about what works, what doesn't and what could work better.
- Improve: Talk about how you could improve your end product. Make revisions. Draw new designs. Make your product the best it can be.
|brainstorming:||A method of shared problem solving in which all members of a group quickly and spontaneously contribute many ideas.|
|design:||To plan out in systematic, often graphic form. To create for a particular purpose or effect. Design a building.|
|engineering design:||The process of devising a system, component or process to meet desired needs. (Source: Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.)|
|engineering design process:||A decision-making process used by engineers. Combines an understanding of basic sciences, mathematics and engineering sciences to use available resources (material, people) to meet a desired goal, usually resulting in a product or system. (Source: The Design Process, Micron Technology, Inc., http://www.micron.com/students/engineer/design.html)|
|force:||A push or a pull on an object.|
|kinetic:||Of, relating to, or produced by motion.|
|mock-up:||A layout of printed matter, used for demonstration, study or testing.|
|prototype:||A first attempt or early model of a new product or creation. May be revised many times.|
Before the Activity
- Gather materials and bring to class example pop-up books from the library or home.
- Divide the class into teams of two students each.
- Student research. Have the student teams browse through the pop-up books, paying careful attention to why and how parts of the book move, and where the forces are applied.
- The process. Write on the board the main steps in the engineering design process, and discuss with the students.
With the Students
- On Day 1, start a discussion about pop-up books by asking if anyone has read a pop-up book. Do you know how they work? Take guesses on when they were first invented. (Answer: 500 years ago.)
- Information gathering. List on the board all the different design techniques found in the example pop-up books. (Possible techniques: Revolving disks, push/pull tabs, lifts/flaps.) Also note that some books create movement only by the reader moving a disk, tab or flap, while others move simply with the motion of turning a page.
- Understand the science. Review with the students how the forces travel from the student's hands along the tabs or through the book pages to cause movement. It may be helpful to draw arrows that represent these forces on the board (see Figure 1).
- With the remaining class time, have the student teams write a short story that they will illustrate in their pop-up book. Decide if the book will be a simple children's story created for a child they know, or perhaps a comic book designed for themselves. The story length can be five sentences to five pages. Remind students that some books have no words or very few words; paper engineers design books so the pictures (illustrations and movement) tell the story.
- An important part of the engineering design process is creating a diagram of your design. This step helps make the project real so decisions can be made and refined for a better end product. Have the students divide their story into approximately five pages, and draw rough sketches (words and pictures) to lay out each page.
- Brainstorming is important in the engineering design process. Working in a team helps everyone come up with creative ideas. Have the students brainstorm unique ways to make their pictures move. Which illustrations will move? In what way? What movement(s) help to tell the story best? Find ideas in the example pop-up books and talk with other students about possible ideas. Brainstorm creative and silly ideas that use the materials available.
- Planning ahead is a very important part of the engineering design process. Why? (Answers: It helps with the collection of materials, prevents the wasting of materials, saves time during the construction phase, and keeps projects organized so other people can understand what is going on.) Have the students plan how they will make some of their illustrations move. What will be on the page background? What will be on the flap or tabs? What will be the tab/flap shapes? Where will be the folds? How will the moving pieces be attached? Practice with a prototype (or mock-up), until it works the way you want. Use the suggestions provided in the How to Make Tabs and How to Make Flaps attachments.
- On Day 2, continue with the pop-up book making process. After the students have shown they have a good grasp on how they want to complete their project, they can begin the construction phase.
- Share the construction tasks among the team members. The first step is to create the base pages of the book. Have each student team figure out how many pieces of paper they need based on the number of finished pages in their book when the 8.5 x 11" paper is folded in half. Plan to include a cover page and a title page. For instance if a story is six pages long, the team needs three pieces of copy paper for the story, one piece for the title page and one piece of colored construction paper for the cover.
- Have students stack their book page papers, placing the construction piece on the bottom (see Figure 2).
- Next, have students fold the stack of papers in half so that the construction paper is on the outside, creating a front and back cover (see Figure 2).
- To make a binding, either staple the fold of the book, or use a needle and thread to stitch the pages together (see Figure 2).
- Next, the students may proceed to add the story, illustrations and moving parts to the blank book. Create a title page that includes the components found on the title page of other books (title, author(s), illustrator(s), location, date).
- When all students have completed their books, have each team present them to the class. They should be able to describe the type of forces that cause their book parts to move. Discuss the creative ideas used in the pop-up books. Do they function well? Do they have any ideas for improvement? Who is the end user of their book? How did the steps of the engineering design process work for your team? Deliver the pop-up books to younger students and see how they are received.
- Students should be careful when handling scissors.
- If needle and thread are used, students should be careful when handling the needles.
- Who has read a pop-up book? (Show of hands.)
- How do pop-up books work? (Examine carefully.)
- When were pop-up books invented? (Answer: Almost 500 years ago.)
- How do forces cause movement in a pop-up book? (Review with the students the forces that cause movement. It may be helpful to draw on the board arrows that represent these forces.)
- How might a "paper engineer" go about designing a pop-up book? What steps? (Review the engineering design process steps.)
Activity Embedded Assessment
- For younger students (grades 3-4), print out instructions from one of the how-to books and stick to simpler flap designs.
Dictionary.com. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Accessed February 9, 2005. (Source of vocabulary definitions, with some adaptation) http://www.dictionary.com
Engineering, Is It You? The Design Process. Micron Technology, Inc.. Accessed February 8, 2005. http://www.micron.com/students/engineer/design.html
Hiner, Mark. Paper Engineering for Pop-Up Books and Cards. Stradbroke. Diss. Norfolk, England: Tarquin Publications, 1986.
Hiner, Mark. Pop-up Books and Paper Engineering. Updated 2002. Mark Hiner, Paper Engineer. Accessed February 8, 2005. (Great resource) http://www.markhiner.co.uk/
Irvine, Joan. How to Make Pop-Ups. Illustrated by Barbara Reid. Toronto, Canada: Kids Can Press, 1987 or New York, NY: William Morrow & Co, 1988. Also see Joan Irvine Children's Books at http://www.makersgallery.com/joanirvine/books.html
Jackson, Paul. The Pop-Up Book: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating Over 100 Original Paper Projects. New York, NY: Owl Books, 1994.
Montanaro, Ann. A Concise History of Pop-up and Movable Books. Updated 2004. The POP-UP World of Ann Montanaro, Rutgers University Libraries, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Accessed April 1, 2004. (A World Wide Web exhibition that includes images an amazing pop-up book collection) http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/libs/scua/montanar/p-intro.htm
Pop-up and Movable Books: A Tour through Their History, Introduction: A Brief History of Early Movable Books. University of Northern Texas Libraries. Accessed February 8, 2005. http://www.library.unt.edu/rarebooks/exhibits/popup2/introduction.htm
Natalie Mach, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Denise W. Carlson
© 2005 by Regents of the University of Colorado.
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
Last modified: July 6, 2015