STEM Activity Toothpick Tower Challenge

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Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
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41 pages
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Towers are the best! Kids love to build and stack items to create the tallest possible tower. With this tower challenge, they also have to be diligent in maintaining a solid base and must constantly rethink the task. This is one of our favorites!

Please note: This lesson is available in money-saving bundles!

What is the challenge?

Students use the materials to build a bridge to span a specific gap. You determine the length of that gap. The resource also includes an alternate method of using a blueprint as part of the requirements.

What is your prep?

You will need some simple supplies along with this package: toothpicks and modeling clay (Play-doh). You will need to prepare bins of materials for students and copy the lab sheets.

The lesson guide provides:

  • A materials list and then step-by-step procedures to follow to make this a great experience
  • A page of Helpful Hints gives ideas of specific things to think about while using this package
  • Two versions of lab sheets are provided (one with sample answers from students)
  • 4 pages of photos will guide the use of the package
  • A page of Extensions gives ideas of continuing the activity as a whole class or in your science/math centers.
  • And this is just the beginning! A second option provided a Blueprint Version of this challenge using slightly different materials. Teacher directions and hints, a lab sheet, and photos are included.
  • AND, scoring rubrics for both versions are included. These are not editable, however, all the other forms in this package are provided in an editable format!

What are teachers saying?

  • "Your products are amazing! I truly appreciate your attention to detail. It will make incorporating this activity in my classroom such a smooth process.
  • "I"ve been wanting to do this project for awhile, but have been looking for a way to make it the most effective. This made little prep for me and had so much student engagement!"
  • "My kids had a blast! Some of their structures were unstable and they discussed a plan to stabilize them. The productive conversation led to great structures."

This challenge works perfectly with these:

NOTE: All three tower challenges can be purchased in a money-saving bundle:

Toothpick Towers is also found in:

Or even better -This challenge can be found in a money-saving 6-Pack!


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Total Pages
41 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


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