Material Impact Testing Simulation

Goal: Create the strongest ‘surface’ of material using the required materials (and no more). An object of sufficient weight will be dropped upon your test material, testing for how much your surface was able to ‘take’ the impact force of the falling object. This is a simulation, reflecting researchers that are trying to create better materials/building practices to make residential homes more resistance to damage/destruction from ever increasing extreme weather conditions, such as tornadoes and hurricanes



  • 5 pieces of paper
  • 20 inches of masking tape
  • Glue (use sparingly)
  • Your ‘test surface’ may not be any thicker than 3 inches and not be any less than 6″ in length by 6″ in width.


You will be working of teams of 2 to 3 students. Make sure you discuss work duties. Remember – you are all getting individually graded on effort.


Test 3 different ‘surfaces’ of a minimum of 6″ by 6″. Depth is up to you, but realize we’re simulating a wall of a house. Note: in following the Design Process, it would be wise to work on one design at a time, improving each next successive design.


Test your surfaces with the object of your choice. Place your test surface on the ‘blocks’ imgDESIGNmaterialTestingMoviethat are placed 4.5 inches apart. Start with drop ball at 12″, working up additional 12″ until deformation is seen. Take pictures/movies if possible, using placards to be able to later identify results. Before you walk away from the testing area, discuss results. (See here how to take raw footage and make it into a movie that you can upload to your wiki.)

Analyze Tests

Before re-designing for improvement, put your observations, thoughts, discussion, movies, pictures up to one of your wikipages. Only then, do you re-design, build the next test surface and test to see if this next design improved.

Be able to answer the following questions:

  • What was the weight of the object dropped?
  • Be able to describe each surface, how you built it and what changes you made to improve the design after testing was done.
  • It will be up to you to determine how to measure or quantify ‘deformation’ of the results of your tests.
  • You must be able to summarize your findings, your strategies, what you learned from this, and what you would do in the future if you had more time. Your ‘speech’ must included related technical terms.

Time limits

  • 2 class periods


  • What can you do/say to show that you took this assignment in a direction guided by the team’s ideas?


  • 20%: Completion of assignment on time (individually graded)
  • 30%: Individual Effort towards completion of goal (individually graded)
  • 30%: Preciseness / workmanship / Content (group grade)
  • 20%: Following directions
  • Extra credit: for knowledge gained or work beyond the call of duty.