Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Experiments

The Leaning (oops) Tower of Pisa

I think almost everyone has seen the picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Did you ever know why it was leaning?  No?  Good I’ll tell you.  The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the cathedral for the city of Pisa.  They started construction on the tower in 1173 and it was going just fine until they got to the second floor.  Oops, it seems the foundation was not strong enough to hold all the marble they were using and the ground was too soft on one side.  Bet somebody got fired for that one!  Anyway, they  had some battles to fight so they stopped construction for almost 100 years.  While they were waging war, the ground settled and firmed up so they decided to keep going and try to compensate for the tilt by building the upper floors taller on one side!!  So the tower is not only tilted but curved as well J  Guess the building inspectors in 1272 were pretty lenient.   Another round of battles meant construction was again halted until 1319, when a new architect was brought in.  Finally, in 1372, the bell chamber was added and the tower was complete.  Not bad, it only took a couple of hundred years to build a totally lopsided, tilting tower J

Can You Build It??

We thought it would be fun to try to build our own Leaning Towers.  We wanted to see how tall we could build on a tilted foundation, so we got out the blocks….
They each got a box top with a crayon under one end to simulate the tilted ground.  Then the race was on to see who could build it the highest before it tipped!

Steady as you go, it's harder
than it looks!

Depending on how you judge, the winner was my son for longest lasting structure

OR my daughter for tallest tower!  This tall one fell a few seconds after I took the picture!!

One thing we learned though :
the FOUNDATION makes all the difference!!

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