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Windy City Tower

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Participants learn about lateral forces, strong building design, and wind tunnel testing as they plan out and make a paper tower that meets specific design constraints and withstands as much wind as possible without sliding or toppling over.

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Family Take-home Activity

A take-home that can be sent with patrons that wish to do STEM activities at home. These at-home activities cover similar topic areas as the associated activity and could be handed out at the conclusion of a program or left on a circulation desk for patrons to take home.

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  • Rating 
  • Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
    Participants Learned from This Activity 
    Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
    Would Recommend 

Related Programming Resources

Related Links Willis Tower: Windy City Challenge
Animations of hurricane damage to a structure at different levels of intensity:
- http://www.npr.org/news/specials/hurricane/ap/categories/hurricane_categories.swf
- http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php
The National Severe Storms Laboratory,"Severe Weather 101"
Tornado Safety Handout
Video: Dream Big "Holding Sway: Wind Engineering"
Originating Source Dream Big
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
Earthquake!: The 1906 San Francisco Nightmare by Lynn Brunelle
A Project Guide to Earthquakes by Claire O'Neal
What Protects Us During Natural Disasters? by Lisa Owings
Can We Protect People From Natural Disasters? by Catherine Chambers
Earthquake Games by Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori
Hurricanes by Gail Gibbons
Avalanche and Landslie Alert! by Vanessa Walker
Rosie Revere's Big Project Book for Bold Engineers
Engineered!: Engineering Design at Work
Engineer Academy, by Steve Martin and Nastia Sleptsova

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
05/01/2018

Fun and engaging!

I tried this program with middle school students, and they found it challenging and fun. Being given a specific purpose (i.e. make a tower that supports a washer and doesn't blow over), combined with limited supplies (tape and paper), allowed them maximum creativity and challenged- in a good way- their engineering skills. There was a lot of discussion and comparison of tower designs, what worked and what didn't work, and several participants altered their designs based on those discussions as well as their observations of how other towers withstood the wind.
This activity is both simple enough for young participants (3-4 grade), yet complex and creative enough for older participants (5-6, 7-8).

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Windy City Tower

Windy City Tower

Participants learn about lateral forces, strong building design, and wind tunnel testing as they plan out and make a paper tower that meets specific design constraints and withstands as much wind as possible without sliding or toppling over.