Tower of Marsh
Posted February 22, 2010on:
Cards on the table… I outright stole this project. My daughter was competing in the Physics Olympiad this weekend and one of the activities was to build a tower of marshmallows and toothpicks that can support a ping pong ball. I know it’s not new, but I had never watched it happen before, I’m sold.
This was a great exercise in teamwork and engineering. I was rather impressed at how the whole project came together in just 25 minutes. I wasn’t sure when I would do this in my classes, we don’t ever really study mechanical engineering principles. The same with the basswood bridges they built. The concepts are great, I love the hands-on, I just wasn’t sure where this would fit in my curriculum. I decided that I am going to use the Tower of Marsh when we do a short chapter on Center of Gravity. We can do a small side study of bridge design and then do a team activity building the towers. I was going to give the kids 40 minutes, the 25 minutes they had seemed to fly by and I have a 55 minute class to fill. Maybe as an added prize, the winning team would get to have hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows.
The attached instruction sheet has been modified for classroom use and includes how it will be scored. This is in Word 2007 format, you may need a the free converter if you don’t have it yet.