SYCAMORE – Cooper Matthews found it difficult to make a skyscraper out of newspapers.
“On a scale from one to 10, it was 205,” Cooper, 10, of Sycamore said after competing in a paper skyscraper competition Monday at Sycamore Public Library.
The 12 children who participated in the event were told they were civil engineers for the day. Their task was to build the tallest skyscraper out of newspapers and tape.
Monday’s Build-It Challenge was part of the library’s efforts to introduce science, technology, engineering and math to children, said Evelyn Lorence, head of youth and teen services. Lorence hopes the events promote awareness of arts and literature, an expanded acronym of STEM called STEAM.
“They can pick up additional skills by doing STEAM activities,” Lorence said. “They have to take these simple materials, which may seem simple, and think about where to put each piece.”
The tallest skyscraper measured 5 feet, 10 inches when time was called, and Kyleigh Allen, 11, of Sycamore, who along with Caroline Trzyna, 11, and Baylee Polke, 11, built the skyscraper, was happy to win a rubber ducky.
Their winning strategy was to form the newspaper into tubes and tape the tubes on top of each other.
Larger pieces of newspaper were used to make a wider base at the bottom of the tubes. The structure could not be taped to the table.
“We just twisted up paper and squeezed and shoved it in the tubes,” Allen said. “Then we put pieces of tape to hold together the top.”
The skyscraper had a pointed top, and Allen had to stand on a table to finish it. Caroline, of Sycamore, said it was challenging but fun to put the skyscraper together.
Vanessa Swank, of Sycamore, brought her children Adam, 11, and Ashlynn, 9, to participate in the challenge. She said it was important for her children to learn teamwork alongside other children from the community.
“They’re learning growth and communication,” Swank said while taking photos of her children working on their skyscraper. “I think they’re having fun, as well. It’s nice to be able to just sit in the corner and watch them work and have fun.”
The Build-It! Challenge series will continue with an ice-cube stack challenge at 2 p.m. July 7 and a Lego tower challenge at 2 p.m. July 14 at the Sycamore Public Library, 103 E. State St. Register by visiting the Children’s desk or calling the library at 815-895-2500, ext. 31.