# Build a Tower

Name of Activity

Build a Tower

Author

STOMP

Keywords

Simple Machines, sturdy shapes, structure, beam, brick, plate, axle, bushing, connector peg, sturdy shapes, triangles, bracing

Subject

Simple Machines

Grade Level

K, 1, 2, 3

Time

1 Hour Total

Brief Description

– Students will build a tower that is at least 4-6 inches high. The tower must be sturdy enough to hold up a book/stack of books.

Lesson Objectives:

– Familiarize students with sturdy building using their LEGO Simple Machines kits.

– Use sturdy shapes to build a structure.

– Build engineering/LEGO vocabulary.

Materials Needed:

– LEGO Simple Machines kit.

– Stack of books.

– Rulers.

– ‘Engineer’s Planning Sheets’.

– ‘Engineer’s Final Report’ Worksheet.

Preparation and Set Up:

– Make enough copies of each worksheet for the class.

– Collect a book/stack of books to use for testing.

– Gather a couple of rulers to test tower height.

– Arrange students in pairs.

– Distribute materials.

Necessary Background

The engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design:

Step 1. Identify the need/problem

Step 2. Research the need/problem

Step 3. Develop possible solutions

Step 4. Select the best possible solution

Step 5. Construct a prototype

Step 6. Test and evaluate the solution(s)

Step 7. Communicate the solution(s)

Step 8. Redesign

Vocabulary:

Pieces –

Beam

Brick

Plate

Connector Peg

Friction Peg

Axle

Bushing

Axle Extender

Sturdy Shapes

Triangles

Bracing

Procedure

- Review sturdy building from prior activities, especially “Building Strong Shapes”.
- Talk about overlapping beam/bricks
- Talk about using pegs to connect pieces and how using two pegs to connect two beams means the beams won’t rotate.
- Talk about how you can use axles and bushings in a similar way that you can use pegs to attach beams.
- Make sure to give the students a height requirement – 4 to 6 inches.

**Brainstorm:**Have students think of ways to build sturdy structures and what a LEGO tower might look like.**Choose and Plan:**Have students fill out the ‘Engineer’s Planning Sheet’ and circle what each partner will build. Although each person does their own worksheet each pair will need to agree on a plan.**Create:**Haves students build the towers. If students have trouble help s tudents use their sturdy building techniques.**Test:**Each tower must pass two tests.**Height Test:**The tower must be at least 4 inches tall (measure with a ruler).**Weight Test:**Each tower must hold the weight of a book/stack of books.

**Redesign:**Students must rebuild their designs after failed tests. Talk with students about what can be done differently to pass the test.

**Share:**

- Have students fill out the ‘Engineer’s Final Report’
- Come together as a class to discuss the activity.
- Let each pair share what they have created.
- Talk about problems groups had and how they fixed them.

Extensions or Modifications:

– Have students build a tower that will support the students weight/hold more books.

– Have students build a taller tower.

– Build a structure that can pick up a stack of books.

– Using a baseplate for this lesson may be helpful for students.

Reference 1

http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/tower1.png

Reference 2

http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/tower2.jpg

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