The fourth graders did an engineering design challenge this week called the holiday gumdrop tower. The challenge was to build as tall a freestanding tower as possible utilizing gumdrops and toothpicks. At first in the lesson we talk about what shape is the strongest — circles, squares or triangles. Then the students begin to design a structure to test their hypothesis. Quickly they realize that gumdrops are heavy, and that a wider base is needed if they plan to build higher. We mentioned how strong the pyramids are, and how important it is to have a strong foundation to build upon. A few structures collapse due to the weight and jelly material in a gumdrop, which helps to teach the lesson. Overall, we learned that triangles are very strong in building, and that adding more toothpicks can be beneficial as well. Finally, we talked about the ratio of toothpicks to gumdrops. One group found that having a greater toothpick to gumdrop ratio resulted in stronger towers as well. Great job building these towers fourth graders!