Author:
William Allred, Carrie Robledo
Subject:
Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Level:
Upper Primary
Grade:
4
Tags:
  • K-5 Design Thinking
  • K-5 Engineering
  • STEM
  • k-5-design-thinking
  • k-5-engineering
  • k5engineers
  • stem
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    4th Grade: Spaghetti Tower Challenge

    4th Grade:  Spaghetti Tower Challenge

    Overview

     

    Students will construct a tower as high as possible using spaghetti, lasagna noodles and marshmallows. 

    Limited supplies of materials are available. 

    Pieces of spaghetti can be broken into desired lengths.

    Instructor Directions

    Engineering Design Process

    Fourth Grade:  Spaghetti Tower Challenge

    Driving Question / ScenarioYou’ve been asked to build the tallest tower possible out of the materials given. Your tower must be sturdy enough to stand up by itself, even when put under a wind test.
    Project SummaryStudents will construct a tower as high as possible using spaghetti, lasagna noodles and marshmallows. Limited supplies of materials are available. Pieces of spaghetti can be broken into desired lengths.
    Estimated Time3 hours for actual building (can be broken up into different days) plus time for planning and testing
    Materials / ResourcesMaterials 100 mini marshmallows, 8 regular marshmallows, 1 box (340g) of spaghetti, 8 linguine noodles, 1 lasagna noodle
    Standards4.G.1-Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.4.G.2:  Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
    Project Outline
    AskHow can we use the materials provided to construct a tall tower, but keep in mind that it must be sturdy as well as it will be exposed to a simple wind test?What types of lines can we include in our design to make it structurally sound? (parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting)
    ImagineIt will be important to do your research, use your schema on forces and structures, make a plan and carefully build and modify your tower while adhering to strict time lines (a maximum of 3 hours will be given for the construction phase)! Teamwork will be the key to success!!
    PlanStep 1- Do research on tower building to gain a better understanding on how to build a tall, strong and sturdy tower. Step 2- On the paper provided, design a plan for your tower, being neat, organized
    CreateUsing the materials provided, construct your tower, using teamwork.
    ImproveModify/change the construction of your tower as your team continues to work.  Have your tower ready to be measured for height and tested against wind!
    Closure / Student ReflectionsStudents share out their successes and failures of their tower build.  
    Possible Modifications / ExtensionsCollect the heights of all towers. Students can create graphs that display the data. Analyze the data to determine the median, mode, and range.

    Creative Commons