Engineers are sometimes restricted by the amount of materials they can use due to budget or supply limitations. Just like a real engineer, your challenge is to build the strongest tower you can with just a few materials. The top of your tower should support a cardboard platform. Once you have finished building, you can test how strong your tower is by loading the platform with coins or washers – how many will it hold?
You only need four items to complete this challenge:
- 10x Spaghetti, toothpicks or wooden skewers
- 20x Apple pieces, grapes, mini marshmallows, soft jelly sweets or blu tac
- A square piece of card
- Coins or washers
Begin by experimenting with your materials. Is a long piece of spaghetti more useful than a short one? What sort of shapes can you make? What can you do with the squares and triangles you have made?
When engineers design and build a structure they have to consider the forces that will be acting on the structure. In this challenge, you should think about:
- Compression – the parts of your structure that are going to be pushed together
- Tension – the bits that are going to be pulled apart
Once you have finished, answer these questions:
- How many coins did your structure hold?
- What shape was the strongest?
- What would you do differently?