This activity Spaghetti Towers is a great way to get young people thinking about building structures.
What to do
The challenge is to build the tallest tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows/jelly babies.
Don’t give any more information, just say ‘go’! and set a timer for around 30 minutes.
The aim behind this activity is for the participants to plan, discuss and discover what works. If working in a group make time for discussion, if working individually then talk with your adult.
The key to success at tower building is to use triangles in the construction to ensure stability. In fact, the best method is to build pyramids.
Give each participant space to discover this themselves. Some of them may build cubes and discover that they’re not very stable – that’s ok. Some will also think that the more pieces of spaghetti they have in each marshmallow will make their structure stronger (which is will but not if the tower is not in the most successful way) – this is also ok. The participants should have enough time to try a few different methods and work out for themselves how they can solve the problems they come up against.
This activity is also about problem solving and working out how to best use limited materials. Call a halt to the tower building after 20-30 minutes, measure each one and discuss the outcome. If working in a household group/bubble you could try the activity again but this time working together and see how tall you can make your tower when you have more brains on the task!
What was easy or difficult?
Would it have been easier with more people on your team?
Was it a question of height versus stability?
Which techniques worked and which didn’t?
Take it Further
If you enjoyed this activity you could check our Newspaper Tower and see if the same structural knowledge is needed and you could work out which towers can be taller, spaghetti or newspaper!