Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tower of Power

We recently did the Tower of Power activity at our after school program, and it was a blast!

Students were divided into teams of 5. Each team received a box that was labeled Top Secret.  In each box, we put a variety of supplies - marshmallows & spaghetti, tape and popsicle sticks, clay and straws, etc.  Basically a variety of something that is tall and something that can connect.

Once each team received their box, their challenge was to build a tower.  We had multiple categories for which the students could aim for, including Tallest Tower, Most Exotic & Sturdiest.

The teams began and after working with their materials, some realized they could borrow from other teams.  Before long, teams started combining, and in the end we had three very distinct towers built.

Teams were awarded based on meeting the categories (since the teams morphed into three groups, each group took home a prize). And of course, there were a host of debrief questions.  Students noted that by pulling together their resources, they were able to make towers that were stronger and by noticing how others were making their towers, they got ideas on how to build their towers.

I really liked this activity because it gave the kids a tangible challenge in which they had limited supplies, but room for whatever creativity their brains wandered upon - and they had to work together.  There were clear parameters (the supplies and their original groups) but also a lot of room for exploration and creative thinking.

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