The Background Story
“We cannot even understand what this is or tell what we are supposed to use for building the structure!”
“Exactly,” I said. “And, this is why it is important to follow directions, draw details, and label your work!”
So, how did Rotation Towers get into this story?
I decided to try something to get the kids’ attention again. What if every team starts building something. Then after a few minutes, every team moves to a different table. At the new table, the team must take over the structure that has been started by another team and continue building.
After a few more minutes, they rotate again! And they rotate 6 times.
BAM! Rotation Towers!
Did we run into problems?
Problems – and How They Were Solved
Take a look at the photos below. On the left side of the collage you can see two teams that used way too much tape to hold craft sticks together. This meant that when later teams arrived at those tables they were short on tape. Those teams resorted to taking tape off the craft sticks and using it in different places.
The photo below shows what happened because of the second team’s use of craft stick legs. It is hard to get craft stick legs to stand up and stay taped to that base. In the middle and at the top the craft stick platforms were too heavy to be supported and the whole tower just fell over.
Below is what happened with flimsy straw legs and the heavy craft stick platform. I have no idea why the team at the end made a bow out of the string. A tie-down might have helped this one to be more stable!
The Real Beauty of This Challenge
“Oh, I love the way you used the straws to hold up the middle platform. We couldn’t get it to work when we were there!”
The teamwork and camaraderie found with this challenge were amazing to see.
We also had a talk about the use of materials and how important that was to the success of each tower. In the end, I think the point of my lesson was well learned. Planning ahead and thinking about how each step will affect the whole structure is important. What you do can also affect others.
What a wonderful life lesson learned in STEM Class!