5th Graders Take on Engineering Challenges

Our ever-inquisitive and creative 5th grade scientists, led by teacher Cindy Cartwright, started the semester with a couple of engineering challenges. Challenge #1 was the Tallest Tree Challenge. Students worked in pairs mostly to create the tallest self-standing structure they could out of newspaper and tape. Their goal was to create the tallest such structure and to find out the answers to some basic design questions: What shape is the strongest? What forces are at work in any structure? What role does the base of a structure play? 

In the Tree Challenge, students had to design a 3-D tree that could stand up, creating it out of a file folder. The goal was to create a tree that could withstand a gentle wind (made by fanning the tree with a file folder).