Tower Challenge

For this challenge, you will construct a tower made of craft and recycled materials. Your tower should be able to support at least a tennis ball or an object with similar weight off of the ground. Have you ever wondered how tall buildings like sky scrapers and telecommunication towers are able to stand up so straight and strong while fighting against wind, gravity and other elements (called loads) all at the same time? Engineers who build towers need to consider not only what material to use but also how to design them. When done successfully after continuous trial and errors, tall towers can provide more space and look cool while doing it!

consider this

There are so many different ways of designing towers! Some Civil Engineers design towers as their whole job! What type of tower will you build? What design helps you build the tallest free-standing structure?

key terms

beam: (noun) a long thick piece of material used in construction

component: (noun) one of the individual parts making up a larger entity

column: (noun) a tall vertical cylindrical structure standing upright

construction: (noun) the act of building something


design a solution

generate an idea

What features of a tower are important? Why and how does a tower stand on its own? What brings strength to a tower? Any specific shapes, features, that make it strong.

design and build a prototype

Using materials you have laying around build the tallest tower that can hold the tennis ball. Use craft materials, recyclables, building blocks, sticks, etc. get creative and be resourceful! Remember, your tower needs to be freestanding. Is there a point where the tower gets too tall?

share your idea

Film a short (max 2 min) video pitch of your invention. Include details like what materials you used, what problems/issues you had and how you resolved or overcame them? Include the final measurement of your tower from the surface of the floor or table to the bottom of the tennis ball. Have fun! Upload/share your video to twitter, facebook or Instagram. Don't forget to tag us!

example solutions

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