Engineering is all about designing and building structures that can stand the test of the forces put upon it.
The goal of our project was to make a structure as tall as they could with as much support as possible using only toothpicks and marshmallows so that it would be strong enough to not collapse under the weight being placed upon it.
We browsed the internet for ideas and came up with a pyramid design that uses triangles throughout, similar to that of the Eiffel Tower.
We started with the foundation. I explained to the kids that this was the most important part of the whole structure. If your foundation is not stable, your entire structure is prone to collapse. They worked hard to get all the angles of the foundation lined up and edges straight, as best you can for marshmallows and toothpicks!
It didn’t take long before they started to see where to put the toothpicks to make triangles, vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
After that, the structure went up fairly quickly.
A quick tip if you’re going to try this: we used the larger marshmallows, since that’s what we had in the cupboard, and I cut them into quarters. That made them a little too small for all the connections. Cutting in half or leaving them whole would work much better.
And there it is, the scale-model of the Eiffel Tower!
To complete this project, you can read the story behind the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t easy to build, nor was it aesthetically appreciated at the time it was built. But today, it’s an iconic symbol of France.