Procedure (how to go about the activity):
1. Brainstorm with the class what a civil engineer might do or build.
2. One type of structure that civil engineers design is a tower. Towers need to be very tall and support immense loads.
3. Discuss sturdy shapes (triangles vs. squares)
4. Discuss how you might make a sturdy tower using the materials:
- Pass out materials to each group.
- Talk about avoiding squares in order to use more triangles and how to use the materials most effectively.
1. Explain to students that they will be constructing towers using the given materials. Write down the requirements:
- The tower has to be two toothpicks tall.
- The tower must support a load in the form of text books placed on top.
Testing the Towers
1. When a group is ready to test, have students to place their tower on the table.
2. Test the tower by adding text books to the top. Increase the weight by one text book each time. You may use different sized text books depending on how much weight you think the towers will hold.
3. Once a group has completed their tests, have them redesign their tower to improve on their first design.