Build a Sturdy Wall





Name of Activity

Build a Sturdy Wall




sturdy, wall, tests, overlapping, drop test, flick test, plate, beam, brick, Simple Machines


Simple Machines

Grade Level

K, 1, 2, 3


1 Hour Total

Brief Description

Students will build a sturdy wall that can withstand two different tests.

Lesson Objectives:

– To familiarize students with LEGO building strategies.

– To familiarize students with LEGO and engineering vocabulary.

– To introduce the Engineering Design Process to the students.

Materials Needed:

– LEGO Simple Machines kits or homemade LEGO building kits.

– Engineer’s ‘Final Report’ Worksheet.

Preparation and Set Up:

– Arrange students in pairs.

– Distribute LEGO Simple Machines Kits.

Necessary Background





Drop Test

Flick Test






  • Introduce the LEGO pieces students will be using in this lesson.
  • Discuss how to describe LEGO pieces (e.g. a 2 x 4 brick is a brick that is 2 studs across and 4 studs long)
  • Write the pieces that were introduced and tell the students that they are only allow to use and take out those three piece types.
  • Explain the challenge and using steps of the Engineering Design Process:

  1. Create: The task for the day is to build a sturdy wall.
    1. Give building tips and talk about sturdy building. For example, overlapping bricks and beas are stronger than non-overlapping bricks and beams, three plates is the same height as one brick. Talk about overlapping bricks at corners of buildings

  • Test: Each wall must pass two tests:
    1. Flick Tests – Wall cannot fall apart or fall over when gently pushed.
    2. Drop Test – Wall cannot fall apart when dropped from the knee.

  • Redesign: Have students think about why their design might have broke and what they can do differently to change it.
  • Share: 
    1. Have students fill out their ‘Engineer’s Final Report’ Worksheet (some students may need help).
    2. If there is time have students come together to share their wall designs and discuss what made their designs sturdy. Compare the students’ walls to the walls in the classroom/other buildings.

    Extensions or Modifications:

    – Have students build a 2-sided wall (the two walls should be connected with overlapping beams/bricks/plates).

    – Have students build a 4-sided sturdy house.

    Reference 1

    Reference 2

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