Time Required: 2 hours 45 minutes can be split into three different sessions. See Procedure for timing details. Full Design Process These resources provide students with the opportunity to complete the full engineering design process to solve either a provided or student-generated design challenge.
Although no charge or fee is required for using TeachEngineering curricular materials in your classroom, the lessons and activities often require material supplies.
The expendable cost is the estimated cost of supplies needed for each group of students involved in the activity. Most curricular materials in TeachEngineering are hierarchically organized; i. Some activities or lessons, however, were developed to stand alone, and hence, they might not conform to this strict hierarchy.
Related Curriculum shows how the document you are currently viewing fits into this hierarchy of curricular materials. A student makes a straw tower within time and material constraints.
Engineers apply science and mathematics concepts to solve problems that improve the built world, including the design of buildings, bridges and other structures. As civil engineers design structures, they work through a cyclical process called the engineering design process to ensure that the structures are well-tested and designed within given constraints such as a budget, limited construction materials and deadlines and meet the specifications such as size, weight, length, strength and environmental considerations.
During this activity, student teams act as civil engineers to design and build model straw towers, taking into consideration limited materials, time and rules as they brainstorm, design, build and improve their structures. Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K science, technology, engineering or math STEM educational standards.
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem. Grades K - 2. Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback! Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Grades 3 - 5. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. View aligned curriculum. Students learn about the history of the world's tallest free standing structures and the basic design principles behind their success. They build their own newspaper skyscrapers with limited materials and time, trying to achieve a maximum height and the ability to withstand a "hurricane wind" force To introduce the two types of stress that materials undergo — compression and tension — students examine compressive and tensile forces and learn about bridges and skyscrapers.
They construct their own building structure using marshmallows and spaghetti to see which structure can hold the most weigh Students work together in small groups, while competing with other teams, to explore the engineering design process through a tower building challenge. They are given a set of design constraints and then conduct online research to learn basic tower-building concepts. During a two-day process and usiEngineers have worked over the years to develop better, stronger bridges that can hold up enormous amounts of weight.
Students can learn about bridges, and differences in strength among the types of bridges, by building their own out of straws. Whether the bridge is for an experiment or a model, straw bridges work well when built properly and hold up against a relatively heavy weight.
Cut six straws in half to create twelve smaller pieces. You may need more if you want to create a long bridge. Lay out three pieces to form a triangle and tape them together at the corners with masking tape.
If the tape doesn't hold the triangles, roll up a small ball of clay and insert the straw pieces. Apply one at each corner and add tape if necessary to hold the straws to the clay. Certain projects may ask you to only use straws and tape, in which case you'll need to add extra tape to ensure your straws stay in place.
Repeat until you have four triangles. Cut up six more straws and create four additional triangles for a total of eight. Check that the triangles are all the same size. Lay four triangles out side by side with only the bottom corners touching and tape the corners together. Repeat for the other four triangles to create two sets of four. Place a straw along the bottom of the four triangles and secure it by placing a piece of tape around the straw and the center of each triangle.
Repeat for the other set of four triangles. Tape together two straws if one is not long enough and trim away the extra length on the ends. Place a straw along the top of the four triangles and tape around the straw and the point of each triangle.
Repeat for the second set of four triangles and trim off any excess straw sticking out. Ask a friend to hold the two sets of triangles, which are now the sides of your bridge, upright and approximately 2 to 3 inches apart running parallel to each other. Extend pieces of straw underneath the top corner of each of the four triangles to slide under the tops of the triangles on the other side. Tape the straw pieces in place.
Repeat with the corners at the bottom of the triangles. Place your bridge on a sturdy surface. If it seems unstable or does not seem strong enough, connect a small piece of straw from the top corner of each triangle down to the center of the bottom straw forming that triangle. Make sure to connect it to the long straws running above and below the triangles. This provides extra support for your bridge. When designing your own straw bridge remember that triangles are the strongest shape you can use, according to online resource Technology Student, while squares are the weakest.
Things You'll Need. Photo Credits. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd.Customised by A Little Peace of Africa.
How to Make Towers Out of Straws & Toothpicks
Bloglovin' Facebook Instagram Pinterest. This is going to be hard to believe, but some of our best STEM Challenges have been created by accident.
Building boats was one such total spur-of-the-moment challenge. I literally came to school one morning and started going through cabinets to pull out materials I thought kids would want to use to build a boat. They loved this activity so much and it's still one of favorites. Bucket Towers is another great example of an "accidental" challenge. Seriously, that is all it took- just thinking about suspending something inside a tower.
But, next, I had to decide what that would be. I started opening cabinets looking for the perfect object that we could hang in or on a tower. Creating a clock apparatus might work because plenty of towers have clocks on them. Then I thought about window washing platforms on skyscrapers.
That would definitely be something suspended from a tower. What if the object was not a platform, but a bucket? And I had the perfect little buckets. Yes, I know the buckets are just 3-ounce cups, but they don't weigh very much and it's easy to punch holes in them. The basic premise of this challenge is to build the tower and create a logical reason the tower has a bucket in it! Towers did tend to sway or buckle under the weight of the bucket, so kids resorted to adding more and more support legs!
My students are really good at using a piece of string to anchor towers or structures to the table. Not only does the tower in the photo below use the string to hold the bucket aloft, but the string is also attached to the table and supporting the tower.
The tower in the photo below is supported by multiple wide-set legs and somehow it remained standing. We called it the "Spider Tower"! Leave a Comment.
Engineering Project: Straw Structure to Hold A Cup of Water
Newer Post Older Post. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. The Best of Rescue Me! Popular Posts. Please Pardon Our Mess! This is Learning in Progress! So, I was going back through blog posts the other day, looking for a photo and I kept finding the best little posts all about the STEM LabThe forces that affect buildings and other structures can be modeled inexpensively and quickly by using the humble drinking straw. Usually, the projects built with drinking straws are rapid build. Storage can be an issue if you plan on having students work the design over multiple classes, or saving the structure for reference.
This really becomes a problem if you are doing the same project with a full load of 5 classes. By doing the project in a single class period, you can easily reuse the straws, having students discard any cut ones and replenish them with new for the next group. For fasteners, there are a few options. Tape can workbut is hard to remove if you are reusing straws. This can be good if you are aiming for a more durable product.
Sewing pins can be used over an over again. Having students count out the pins they need and keeping them in plastic cups is works for multiple classes. As a new batch of kids collects their supplies, they just check to see that the last group left the right number of pins in the cup.
This can occur at the same time they get the straws they will need. Some towers are built with paper clips as the fastener. If you do this, you may give the option of using wire cutters and pliers to modify the pins. In introducing the ideas of the project, you will want to discuss the forces of tension, compression, torsion and shear.
As students build, they should be able to recognize the forces that affect buildings and other structures and devise ways to compensate for them. Often in straw towers, you will want to incorporate the differences between live load and dead load.
Sometimes called dynamic load and static load, you can model them by having the tower hold a weight, representing the live or dynamic load.
You can also have students become more aware of factor of safety and failure analysis of their structure. The building of these towers can lead to a competitive situation. You can have students all build with the same materials, and set the grades on how high the towers stand while holding the live load.
One way of doing the calculation is to set the highest and lowest possible grade, and 75 for example. Then you measure the towers, identifying the tallest structure.
The group with the tallest load bearing tower gets the A tower that holds the live load at 40 inches would get a The group that has the ball on the floor gets the The other groups in between get grades based on the height of the ball, or other load. You can also use a project like this to examine the forces affecting a building during an earthquake.Never having constructed anything like this nor ever having seen a straw tower, I was rather frustrated at the lack of detail offered.
I mean, how can we make something that we have no concept of at all? So we roughly followed the guidelines laid out there, and it worked. Sprite and I are not short on creativity, but we certainly need some sort of foundation to work on. The article fit the bill. Here are our steps. First we had to cut off the bendy part of each straw. Then we made a triangle and a square to compare the strengths of each shape. It was easy to see that a triangle is much stronger than a square.
But we followed our directions and made an octagon base pentagon base. Thanks, Chaz, for pointing out my error. For the side structures, we made long pieces from six straws by inserting straws into other straws.
Then we began connecting the sides to the base. Just taping this thing together was tricky! We tried lots of ways before we found methods that worked. We used a LOT of tape. But there was nothing in the directions about being pretty. The one criteria was that it hold a baseball. We also constructed a center support.
How to Build a Straw Tower: Homeschool STEM Project
Then we were exhausted and tired of yellow straws! So things got a bit silly! The next day, we resumed work on the tower. Not pretty, by any means, but it was strong! Now the test. Here is Sprite, gingerly testing the structure with a baseball. The new blog is very nice. Looking forward to seeingwha you do with it.
Study structures with straws
I will miss the old one though. Chaz, You are so right! I will change that! Thanks so much for the correction. Hi, i am doing a project just like this, but we haveto use paper clips instead of tape. Me and my partner, Heather are required to build a straw tower using 40 straws, 3 feet of tape, and 6 pipe cleaners. How many straws did you use? Thank you so much! This really helped me with my science project.Time Required: 1 hours 45 minutes two minute sessions.
Full Design Process These resources provide students with the opportunity to complete the full engineering design process to solve either a provided or student-generated design challenge. Although no charge or fee is required for using TeachEngineering curricular materials in your classroom, the lessons and activities often require material supplies.
The expendable cost is the estimated cost of supplies needed for each group of students involved in the activity. Most curricular materials in TeachEngineering are hierarchically organized; i. Some activities or lessons, however, were developed to stand alone, and hence, they might not conform to this strict hierarchy. Related Curriculum shows how the document you are currently viewing fits into this hierarchy of curricular materials. Students test the strength of a tower made from straws and tape.
Engineers refine and improve designs to best meet specified constraints. Civil engineers often bid for projects against competitor engineering teams, with the goal to provide higher quality structures at lower costs in a given amount of time. During this activity, students work in teams, competing against other teams, to design, build and refine towers of a minimum height in a given amount of time. The winning tower design is the one that uses the fewest resources while holding the greatest amount of weight.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K science, technology, engineering or math STEM educational standards. In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Grades 3 - 5. Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback! Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback!
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved. View aligned curriculum.
Students learn about civil engineers and work through each step of the engineering design process in two mini-activities that prepare them for a culminating challenge to design and build the tallest straw tower possible, given limited time and resources.
In the culminating challenge tallest straw t To introduce the two types of stress that materials undergo — compression and tension — students examine compressive and tensile forces and learn about bridges and skyscrapers. They construct their own building structure using marshmallows and spaghetti to see which structure can hold the most weighA tower made of straws and toothpicks is an ideal solution if you're building a craft project such as a doll house or diorama, and need some towers to complete the look.
The pliable plastic of the straws can be easily pierced by the toothpicks, allowing you to connect the straws to form a four-sided column post with minimal effort. The materials used are inexpensive to boot, making it a cost-effective project that can be created from items you already have on hand.
Lay two plastic straws vertically and parallel to one another, about the same distance apart as the length of the toothpicks you're working with. Insert five toothpicks in between the straws by poking the points at the ends of the toothpicks into the plastic of the straws, attaching the straws together in a sort of ladder pattern.
Make sure the toothpicks are an equal distance apart from one another. Stick five toothpicks into the side of the left straw so that the toothpicks stick straight up when the ladder you made in step 2 is laying flat on a table. Lay another straw on top of these five toothpicks and poke the free point of each toothpick into the straw so it is attached, and you now have an L-shape made of three straws and 10 toothpicks.
Stick five toothpicks into the side of this newest straw so that the toothpicks stick out over the first five toothpicks you used in creating the first ladder panel. Insert the open ends of these toothpicks into a fourth straw, so you now have a three-sided construction made of four straws and 15 toothpicks. Complete the four-sided column by sticking five toothpicks into the open side of the four-straw construction. You should now have a column that can sit upright, with the four straws vertical and the toothpicks horizontal.
Pin Share Tweet Share Email. Things You'll Need 4 plastic drinking straws 20 wooden toothpicks. Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4. Step 5. Tip Use colored toothpicks and straws for added decoration. Show Comments.