7G – Upper School Science – Paper Chair Engineering

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) sets industry standards for commercial-grade furniture. The standards are intended to provide manufacturers and users with a common basis for evaluation safety, durability, and the structural integrity of specified furniture.

The standards define specific tests, laboratory equipment to be used, formulas to determine weight or height to use in each test, the conditions of testing, and the acceptance levels to be used in evaluating these products.

Students in seventh grade were introduced to BIFMA as well as some basic engineering terms and ideas prior to beginning formal construction of their chairs. Following a set list of objectives/requirements, students used only newspaper and making tape to form chairs to hold the average weight of a seventh grader – 95 pounds!