Tallest Paper Tower Challenge for Grades 6-8
- Design and build a paper tower based on specific criteria.
- Iteratively test and modify the tower to improve its performance.
Teach your students about the engineering design process with this fun lesson plan. They will design and build the tallest possible tower using nothing but paper and tape, but there's an additional twist on this classic activity. The tower must support a heavy weight at the top without collapsing! Optionally, they can enter their designs in the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge for a chance to win a cash prize for your school! Teachers, note that elementary and high school versions of this lesson plan are also available.
Remote learning adaptation: Students can watch the introductory video and follow the instructions on the Student Worksheet to build and test their towers independently at home. If you would like students to work collaboratively, students can share their design ideas and testing results with each other via video conferencing or shared documents and photos iteratively before settling on a final tower to test and submit as their entry.
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
If you want to enter your design in the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge, you can only use the materials listed below.
Area of Science
Engineering design, compression, tension, trusses, beams
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
Explore Our Science Videos
How to Make Elephant Toothpaste
Paper Roller Coasters - Fun STEM Activity!
Make Fake Snow - Craft Your Science Project