Using only tape and straws, Sprite and I built a tower capable of holding a baseball! Here’s proof!
This assignment from the Livingmath.net curriculum was not an easy project because there were no directions, just an assignment — build a tower from straws. Never having constructed anything like this nor ever having seen a straw tower, I was rather frustrated at the lack of detail offered. I mean, how can we make something that we have no concept of at all?
I could only find one resource that had directions — How to Build a Straw Tower Capable of Holding a Baseball. So we roughly followed the guidelines laid out there, and it worked. Sprite and I are not short on creativity, but we certainly need some sort of foundation to work on. The article fit the bill. Here are our steps.
First we had to cut off the bendy part of each straw. Then we made a triangle and a square to compare the strengths of each shape. It was easy to see that a triangle is much stronger than a square. But we followed our directions and made an octagon base pentagon base. (Whoops! Thanks, Chaz, for pointing out my error.)
For the side structures, we made long pieces from six straws by inserting straws into other straws.
We used tape to reinforce the joints. Here are our completed base and sides.
Then we began connecting the sides to the base. Just taping this thing together was tricky! We tried lots of ways before we found methods that worked. We used a LOT of tape. But there was nothing in the directions about being pretty. The one criteria was that it hold a baseball.
We also constructed a center support. Then we were exhausted and tired of yellow straws! So things got a bit silly!
The next day, we resumed work on the tower. We trimmed it to a shorter height and added horizontal supports all around. Not pretty, by any means, but it was strong! Now the test. Here is Sprite, gingerly testing the structure with a baseball.
Books with projects using straws:
Or cheat with a building kit: