Freestanding Structures

This Freestanding Structures lesson plan also includes:

How high can you go? In a STEM design challenge, teams design and build a structure using only dowel rods and rubber bands. The goal is to build the tallest freestanding structure using all of the dowel rods. Teams present their designs and reflect upon the forces affecting their structures.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Lead a discussion about how students would need to change the design if the purpose was to build a structure to span a gap
  • Change the building material to straws and ask the teams to try the same design
Classroom Considerations
  • Each team needs an open area to build their structures in a room that has a high ceiling
  • Contains suggestions for extension activities
  • Includes a link to a website on the history and science of skyscrapers—an interesting way to supplement the lesson
  • None