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Leaning Tower of Pasta

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Using spaghetti and marshmallows, patrons experiment with different structures to determine which ones are able to handle the greatest amount of load.

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Related Programming Resources

Add a Tech Twist Optional: Use a digital scale to measure out exact loads
Hints for uses in your library There are no step-by-step instructions for this project, only the constraints of limited resources!

Remind patrons to utilize the engineering deisgn process. Failure is OK!

The rigid, long pasta could injure an eye. Although this is an activity with a lot of freedom, students should not horseplay with the spaghetti.

Possible Extensions:

Before students start construction, be sure they understand where you will add weight to their structure to test it. Knowing this should be a consideration in their structure design. For example, it is difficult to add weight to a tall, narrow tower.

Have the students build models using materials other than marshmallows and pasta, such as toothpicks, gumdrops, caramels, Popsicle sticks, etc. Which materials made even better buildings than spaghetti and marshmallows, and why? Have the students discuss these materials in terms of compression and tension.

Give each material a cost and give groups a budget (i.e. spaghetti noodle $0.10 and marshmallows $0.20 with a $10.00 budget). Let groups pick how much of each material they want with the given budget and create a structure.

Have the students design their own experiment to look at the geometry behind different structures. Which shape can hold the most weight — a triangle, square or circle? Challenge the students to explain their answers by creating diagrams showing the compression and tension forces on each
Related Links (Optional) Standing Strong Worksheet: https://www.teachengineering.org/content/cub_/activities/cub_mechanics/cub_mechanics_lesson10_activity1_worksheet.pdf
Originating Source https://www.teachengineering.org/
Related Books
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These children’s books all deal with various themes involved in engineering such as the engineering design process, specific projects such as building bridges or houses, and perseverance through failure.

• Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
• Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
• Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
• This Bridge Will Not Be Gray by Dave Eggers
• Cross a Bridge by Ryan Ann Hunter
• What To Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada
• Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
• Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
• The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
• The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
• How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons

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Leaning Tower of Pasta

Leaning Tower of Pasta

Using spaghetti and marshmallows, patrons experiment with different structures to determine which ones are able to handle the greatest amount of load.