dissabte, 15 de març de 2014

Spaguetti tower: a race against the clock

Learning Goals:

  • Engineering for structural strength
  • Creative problem solving
  • Determining variables and controlling them
  • Team work
  • Time management

 Learning outcomes

  • Some shapes and materials are stronger than others.
  • Weak materials can be made stronger with good design techniques.
  • Distribution of mass is an important consideration when building structures.



The architects and engineers have to design it carefully so that it is safe and ful ls the required purpose.

  • Read the instructions: "A race against the clock".
  • Read the hints and tips below
  • Practice.
  • In your groups sketch, discuss and try ideas.

A race against the clock:

  • You will be given a limited supplies of materials materials and set the challenge of building as high a tower as you can in a limited time: 30 minutes
  • Materials: spaguetti (50 g/ team) and marshmallows (25 g/team).
The spaghetti provides the framework and support for the tower and mini marshmallows are used to make the connectors. Pieces of spaguetti may be broken into desired lenghts.
  • Team size: three.
  •  Rules:
          1. Only the materials provided may be used.
          2. The highest tower at the end of the class will be the winner.
          3.Once time is called a full minute will be waited before teacher measures height. This is to ensure tower stability.
          4. The judge's decision in all matters is final!

 Hints and Tips

  • There will be most strain on the base of the tower – think about how you can add strength here.
  • The more the marshmallow can grip the spaghetti, the stronger the joint.
  • If you don’t use pieces of equal length on each side, your tower may start to twist and topple
  • Use shorter pieces of spaghetti or put in braces to strengthen squares and rectangles in your structure. 

2.-The challenge and the winning  

3.- Afterwards


  • What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it?
  • What things put a limit on how tall your tower could be?
  • How do you think you worked as a group? Did you assume different roles?


  • What building techniques make the tower stronger?
  • Does the size of the base alter the strength of the tower?
  • Does the placing of the marshmallows affect the strength of the tower?

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