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a skyline with a tower prominently shown at sunset Building a Tower

Are you an aspiring architect? Could you create the next feat of engineering?  We are going to test your skills in a tower building challenge that could test even the most dedicated of engineers or architects.  Today you will create a tower from things you find from around your own home.  Let’s see how high you can go!

This activity is pulled from our Virtual ExCEL Camps happening summer of 2020! While these activities are written to fit into the larger lesson plan of the camp themes, you can complete them with your little one at any time. Learn more about our Virtual ExCEL Summer Camp here!


What part of your plan is most necessary to withstand an earthquake?

  1. The base
  2. The sides
  3. The top

Watch this video:

To do the activity, watch this video. Or click on the direct link below:


Household materials of your choice. What do you think will make the best tower?


Create a tower using household materials, just be sure you have a strong base, something shiny and a large book needs to be placed on the top.

  1. Find materials to build your tower.  Remember you must have something made of paper, something shiny and something made of plastic.  You can use additional materials.  You can go as high as you think you can go without it falling.
  2. Your tower must be able to support a heavy book.
  3. Plan your tower. You may draw it or write out your plan.
  4. Build your tower following your plan.
  5. Test your tower by placing a heavy book on top. It works if the tower stays up for 20 seconds.
  6. Ask yourself, “How can I improve my tower? What would I do differently next time?”


Did your tower lean like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Was it as tall as the Burj Khalifa?  There are a number of ways you can build a tower.   Was your hypothesis correct? Which part of the tower was the most important part?  The Leaning Tower of Pisa had some engineering problems and sits at an angle.  How did your tower measure up?




Cheryl Hannan, Professor from California State University, LA.

Johna Bogue, Lower school science teacher (grades PreK- 3rd) at The Pegasus School, CA.

Parisa Behmardi Lamarra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired at Whittier Unified School District, CA.

Susan Drake, Special education teacher and student in VI college program at Missouri State University.

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