Grades: K - 4
Learning objective: students will develop teamwork skills as they work together to design and construct a tower, problem-solving along the way. These are key skills needed in engineering and scientific disciplines.
Supplies you will need
- One large handful of Popsicle sticks
One roll masking tape
Paper and pencil
- Have the students form teams of 3 – 5 kids.
- Ask: Who knows what a transmission tower is?
- Explain: The purpose of a tower and BPA’s role in designing and building them. Show pictures/schematics.
- Distribute materials to each team.
- Instruct the teams to work together to “design” a tower by sketching it on paper. Encourage them to work as a team, as engineers do, and explain their ideas and listen to each other. Allow about 5 minutes for this job. Move around the room to encourage them.
- Next, instruct the kids to build their tower, using Popsicle sticks and tape to hold the joints together.
- For Kindergarten through 2nd graders, demonstrate the first step for them. Show them how to create a flat square from the sticks (see diagram below). This will lay flat on the table and serve as the base of their tower.
- Allow 10 – 15 minutes of “building time.” Move around the room asking questions, providing ideas and encouragement.
- If time allows, the students can string “conductor” along their line. Use the roll of string and let them unroll it and attach with tape to each tower.
- Optional: Have each team deliver an “engineering report.” Ask one team member to talk about their design, what worked and what didn’t. Thank them for being great engineers!