Straw Towers Design Challenge: Building the Tallest and Most Stable Tower
Join the challenge and compete with other teams of civil engineers in building the tallest and most stable tower. Develop a prototype of your tower design before being awarded the contract by the city.
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1. + Straw Towers Design Challenge Nicole Cozart Program Coordinator STARBASE One Selfridge ANGB, MI firstname.lastname@example.org & Alison Chanley Pre-Service Teacher Oakland University Rochester, MI Download additional materials, handouts and more at: www.strawtowersdesignchallenge.wikispaces.com
2. + Design Challenge You have been brought together as a team of civil engineers to construct the tallest , most stable tower. Your teams 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.
3. + Your Task 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 Eiffel Tower Paris, France
4. + Time Intervals 5-7 minutes for research and development; brainstorming, talking, communicating, and sketching initial design Three 10 minute intervals for construction 2 minute discussion periods at the end of each building phase
5. + Rules For Tower Construction No taping structure to the floor or table. Tower must be free standing upon completion. You cant 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.
6. + Example Planning Page
7. + 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 Bases (paper, poster-board, cardboard)
8. + 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
9. + Alternate Teaching Strategies Job Descriptions Describes a specific job for each team member in order to utilize time more efficiently and to prevent arguments. Foreperson 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.
10. + Predictable Complications Grouping Misuse of the resources i.e., scissors Students not following design plans Parents/Teachers Assistant Espionage/Sabotage; can groups copy or steal ideas from one another? Giving up
11. + 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?
12. + Conclusion 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 fascinating and engaging . All of the materials are inexpensive and/or readily available to teachers on any budget! Hence, Science on a Shoestring!