Skip to content ↓
Grateley Primary School

Grateley Primary School

Hooray! A Sugar Cube Arch!

We thought it was going to be easy! The task? - to build a Roman arch using sugar cubes. 

Well, we started off full of architectural prowess and gusto and soon discovered some of the pitfalls of building an arch without a form to guide us.  We soon identified the importance of span, height and the shape of the blocks at the top of the arch.  Many of us were growling our dissatisfaction with our tumbling structures until there was a 'He's done it! Daniel! He's done it!' 

Sure enough, Daniel had managed to construct a small arch with a span which a chariot would have found compromising to squeeze between but it was an arch nevertheless.  Have a look at our gallery to see how we approached this challenge.  This challenge certainly helped us understand and appreciate just how extraordinarily skilled the Romans were.  

Despite, our resilience and energy, this was a huge endeavour for us but our appreciation of the architectural knowledge of the Romans grew considerably. We also had some fabulous discussions about force distribution and the importance of the keystone, which any architectural college would have been proud of. Some of you also worked out that if the blocks in the curve of the archway were shaped then this would aid the distribution of force along the structure. Well done children!