6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 2, 2013 4:50 PM by glen_w

    Stem Snacks – Building towers

    glen_w

      Students in our school are required to identify factors that support structures. This activity required students to cut a piece of paper into segments and use these segments to create a tower. The challenge was to create the tallest tower. Students were allowed to use pieces of tape to attach their tower to the table. Tape was also allowed in attaching paper pieces to each other. Once the students were finished constructing their tower, it had to stand without assistance for a minimum of 60 seconds.

       

      Tower designs were unique. Students who understood the relationship of strength and shapes tended to create the tallest towers. The tallest tower was just short of 2 meters. Students were very excited about how long their tower stood without assistance.

      • What skills do would your students gain from participating in such an activity?
      • How could technology be added to this activity?
      • How can this tower building activity be tied into the Common Core Standards?

      Paper_Tower.jpg skills

        • Re: Stem Snacks – Building towers
          erroth

          For a similar tower project I have done before, an added requirement was that the tower support a golf ball.

          • Re: Stem Snacks – Building towers
            dougemints

            This is an interesting project that I'm sure the students will enjoy.  You also pose some questions..

             

            • What skills do would your students gain from participating in such an activity? 

            I think that many teachers are afraid to do an activity like this, because they are not sure of the value towards standardized or end of year testing.  I say, that an activity like this qualifies for "test prep" because it requires students to think, pursue a process, and continue through a multi-step product.  These are some of the "hidden" skills that are also required for students to do well during academic testing of all types.  In our state, this is the perfect time of year to work on a project like this as it will help prepare kids for upcoming testing dates.  (and it will be fun)

             

            • How could technology be added to this activity?

            I was thinking that an online blog might work for teams working on this activitiy.  They could include images of structures and failed structures and they could also describe their planning, testing, and reflections.

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            • Re: Stem Snacks – Building towers

              My students learned to communicate! They listened to each others ideas and when one didn't work, they tried the next idea. You could have one of the students take video or pictures, With the pictures they could do a time lapse photography. We did this also to help students get to know one another. They could do a blog and discuss what worked best and what didn't.

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Stem Snacks – Building towers
                  glen_w

                  Sherri,

                   

                  I like how you and dougemints both suggested the idea of a blog. My district's policy has restricted blogs to teachers for as long as I can remember. I'm still working to get this changed and have my finger's crossed. I can see how pictures, videos, and a blog could combine to help students think more deeply about this project. Communication is a HUGE aspect of all projects - I appreciate you mentioning the importance of this in your classroom.