Straw Towers
1 / 12

Download additional materials, handouts and more at: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Straw Towers Design Challenge Nicole Cozart Program Coordinator STARBASE One Selfridge ANGB, MI [email protected] & Alison Chanley Pre-Service Teacher Oakland University Rochester, MI. Download additional materials, handouts and more at:

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about ' Download additional materials, handouts and more at:' - kedma

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

Straw Towers Design ChallengeNicole CozartProgram Coordinator STARBASE OneSelfridge ANGB, [email protected] & Alison Chanley Pre-Service TeacherOakland UniversityRochester, MI

Download additional materials,

handouts and more at:

Design challenge
Design Challenge

You have been brought together as a team of civil engineers to construct the tallest, most stable tower. Your team’s design will be competing for a contract awarded by the city. Before you can be awarded the contract, however, you must develop a prototype of the tower you intend to build.

Your task
Your Task

Eiffel Tower

Paris, France

To work together as a team to create the tallest, most stable tower using:

  • 50 straws per team

  • 1 meter of tape

  • 1 pair of scissors

Time intervals
Time Intervals

  • 5-7 minutes for research and development; brainstorming, talking, communicating, and sketching initial design.

  • Three 10 minute intervals for construction.

  • Two minute discussion periods at the end of each building phase.

Rules for tower construction
Rules For Tower Construction

  • No talking during the building phases.

  • No taping structure to the floor or table.

  • Tower must be free standing upon completion.

    • You can’t hold it up!

  • Each structure will be measured from the base to the highest free standing point.

  • Each group can ask 2 questions during the building process pertaining to the actual design, process, or rules.

Alternative materials
Alternative Materials

  • Students may “purchase” alternative or additional building materials during the planning phase. Such as:

    • Design ideas (example blueprints or design ideas printed out for viewing)

    • Flexible straws

    • Cut straws or pieces of straws

    • Bases (paper, poster-board, cardboard)

Teaching strategies
Teaching Strategies

  • Lots of open space

    • Push tables or desks out of the way

    • Use the gym, media center or hallway

  • Kitchen or egg timer for time increments

  • Create penalties for talking during build phase

    • Could include loss of resources, points, or height deductions

  • Music

Alternate teaching strategies
Alternate Teaching Strategies

  • Job Descriptions

    • Describes a specific job for each team member in order to utilize time more efficiently and to prevent arguments.


  • Guide the team in making decisions.

  • Oversee the building of the tower.

    Engineer 1

  • Draw Straw Tower Blueprints.

  • Build the tower according to the blueprints.

    Engineer 2

  • Draw Straw Tower Blueprints.

  • Build the tower according to the blueprints

    Financial Manager

  • Inventory materials.

  • Distribute and monitor use of materials.

Predictable complications
Predictable Complications

  • Grouping

  • Misuse of the resources i.e., scissors

  • Students not following design plans

  • Parents/Teacher’s Assistant

  • Espionage/Sabotage; can groups copy or steal ideas from one another?

  • Rushing

  • Giving up

Engineering design process
Engineering Design Process

  • Problem

    • Describe the problem.

  • Research

    • Discuss what you know about structures and towers.

  • Brainstorm

    • Discuss ways to create the tallest tower and sketch a diagram.

  • Choose the best solution.

  • Build it!

    • Get your supplies and start working.

  • Test it!

    • Is it freestanding? Is it the tallest?

  • Communicate

    • What did you learn?

  • Redesign

    • What changes would you make?


  • This activity can be used to teach a variety of curriculum, group dynamics, communication skills, as well as the design and engineering process!

  • This is a fun hands-on activity that students of all ages find engaging and challenging!

  • All of the materials are inexpensive and/or readily available to teachers on any budget! Hence, Science on a Shoestring!