I teach a course for seventh and eighth graders who rotate through new courses each grading term. Since I had already done the aluminum boats activity with my first term group and some of them had already done a similar activity with a previous teacher in a past class, I wanted to try something different with my other classes for the next rotation. I still wanted the students to build something, so in the replacement activity, it was a waterless challenge with the goal of building a structure at least 2.5" tall, made of gum drops and toothpicks, and that could hold a textbook for at least 10 seconds. Students were given no more than 20 gum drops and 50 toothpicks. The students were really creative in their designs, and one team’s first attempt held the book for at least 32 seconds before collapsing. They had never done the project before and they loved the challenge.
Build a Structure Student Example
I also edited the Aluminum Boats Activity Guide to follow the new task called Building a Structure.
Building a Structure
Some of the other waterless challenges posted here also look interesting. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to trying some of them out.