STEM Education utilizes interdisciplinary skills from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to engage kids in inquiry and solution-based learning. By challenging kids to explore, create, inquire, observe relationships, predict outcomes, and find solutions to problems, STEM Education promotes critical thought processes that kids can then apply to their everyday world.
STEM Tower Building Challenge for Kids!
STEM Skills Presented:
Science: Students will explore the design and construction of a tower through individual (or collaborative) use of skills in the scientific method: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.
Technology: Students will use digital cameras to photograph the free standing towers for documentation of learning.
Engineering: Students will learn about engineering through design and construction of a simple tower.
Math: Students will explore geometric shapes, lines, weight, and patterns as they design and construct the towers.
Background Information for Teachers and Parents: The world’s engineers have designed spectacular structures! The Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds the current title as the world’s tallest building at over 800 meters tall. The Shanghai Tower in China ranks at number two and is 632 meters tall. The Mekka Royal Clock Tower , Saudi Arabia, claims its place as the third tallest at 601 meters tall. In the United States, One World Trade Center (New York City) ranks fourth and stands at 541 meters. In 2019, the Kingdom Tower (under construction in Saudi Arabia), will claim the number one spot upon completion. This magnificent building will stand 1008 meters tall and surpass the Burj Khalifa.
Wikki Stix STEM Building Tower Challenge for Kids!
- One miniature marshmallow
- 20 Wikki Stix
- 15 Craft Sticks
Set out all the supplies on a table or tray and invite the kids to plan a design and construct the tallest tower! The tower challenge can be done individually or in small groups. The kids DO NOT have to use all of the materials, but they cannot ask for more.
- No additional supplies will be given.
- Time given to design and construct the tower is 20 minutes.
- The miniature marshmallow must be placed at the top of the tower.
- The tower must be free standing (without aid from the students).
Full materials list and directions can be printed here. (download the PDF file of tower challenge directions here)
At the end of the allotted time, have the kids measure the constructed towers to determine which tower is the tallest!
To document learning: Invite the kids to use a digital camera to photograph the constructed towers and final heights. Kids can then use the photos for a class book, to make an online slideshow, or to display at home or in the classroom.
Extended Learning Suggestions:
1. Watch the following video about the construction of the Kingdom Tower.
2. Invite the kids to discussion with the following questions: What base design did the winning tower have? What base did your own tower have? What would you do differently with your tower design next time? What were the challenges in construction (as an individual or as a team)? Do you think that engineers who design tall buildings must overcome challenges, too? What challenges might there be in creating a building so tall?
3. Print the Wikki Stix Tower Challenge Response Sheet here for older students – download the Tower Challenge Response PDF here)
As kids employ interdisciplinary skills and begin to use critical thinking skills, they will garner the tools necessary to apply that knowledge to challenges that extend beyond the classroom or home!
For MORE ways to incorporate STEM and STEAM Education into the classroom or at home, please visit:
STEAM Education for Kids: Mondrian Construction and Design
STEAM FOR KIDS: Exploring and Constructing Tessellations
STEAM Education: Kandinsky’s Concentric Circles
Beyond Memorization: Activities to Promote Critical Thinking with Wikki Stix
Open-Ended Engineering in Early Childhood
SHAPES! A STEM Building Challenge for Kids!
STEAM for Kids: Wikki Stix Parachute Man Design Challenge