Currently viewing the category: "Types of Engineering"
Brief Description Students build the tallest tower possible to support a marshmallow. They can use only dry spaghetti and tape.
Subject Types of Engineering, Miscellaneous
Grade Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Lesson Objectives: Depending on your goals for the unit, the lesson objectives may include:

  1. Students will better understand what “engineering” is and practice using the engineering design process.
  2. Students will practice working with constraints. They will be able to identify the constraints in this activity.
  3. Students will be able to describe the properties of strong structures.
  4. Students will begin to realize that it is okay to fail!
Materials Needed:
  • dried spaghetti (10 pieces for every group)
  • masking tape (1 ft for every group)
  • marshmallows (1 per group)
  • measuring tape/yardstick (most classrooms have one)
Preparation and Set Up:
  • Gather necessary materials
  • When in the class, it is recommended that one STOMPer divide up the tape and spaghetti while the other STOMPer explains the activity.
Necessary Background This activity requires no specific background. Many STOMPers use it to introduce the engineering design process.
Procedure
  1. Explain the activity: They will have 15 minutes to build the tallest tower out of 10 pieces of spaghetti and 12 inches of tape. The marshmallow must balance at the top of the tower.  The time limit and the limited amount of materials given are known as constraints. (No, you can’t eat the marshmallows. We will be measuring from to the top of the marshmallow so don’t use it as a base)
  2. Split students into groups of 2-4 students and let them work for 15 minutes. Circulate the classroom and talk about different designs.
  3. At the end of 15 minutes, measure the towers. It is recommended not to
  4. Discuss: What did you have trouble with in this challenge? What do you think you needed to make a better tower? How did you make yours stand up? Did the weight of the marshmallow make any towers collapse? You may also want to revisit and discuss any learning goals for the class.
  5. If time allows, you may repeat the activity. Many classes like to repeat the activity so that they can apply what they have just learned!
Author Laura Fradin, Jake Hellman
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/SpaghettiTowersOutline.pdf

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Three Little Pigs House Building
Author Emily Lai and Emily Naito
Keywords three little pigs, build, house
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description After reviewing the story of the 3 little pigs, students get into groups and build three houses out of different materials. Then, the houses are tested with a fan to see if the “big bad wolf” can knock their houses down.
Lesson Objectives: - Using the engineering design process
- Learn to build with different materials and adjust designs based on constraints of materials
Materials Needed: House 1: Paper
House 2: Straws (cut in half), popsicle sticks
House 3: Lego Bricks

Tape
Scissors
Glue

Fan (paper fan, folder, etc.)

Preparation and Set Up: Arrange students in pairs

Cut straws in half

Necessary Background Know the three little pigs story.
Procedure 1. Tell story of the three little pigs. 2. Assign students to pairs, and distribute pairs evenly into three different stations (one station for each house) 3. Plan/Discuss possible house designs with partner 4. Construct house out of given materials 5. Rotate through stations until every group has build three houses. 6. Test designs by using a fan to see if the houses blow down.
Modifications: Limit the amount of tape/glue students can use for their houses.
Instead of a paper fan, use a hair dryer or a mechanical fan.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Robotics in Motion – Naito and Lai

Tufts Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program • 200 Boston Ave. • Suite G810 • Medford, MA • 617-627-5888

Switch to our mobile site