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Cell Tower Design Challenge

Tower Power

The task: Your town needs a new cell tower. It needs to be as tall as possible to make sure everybody in town can make phone calls. But it’s going to be out in the middle of a field so it can’t be held up by another building.

The design challenge (criteria): To build a free-standing

 tower that is as tall as possible.

The design constraints:


  • 3 sheets of paper
  • 3 paper clips
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 piece of tape as long as your forearm


  • cannot not be held up by anything
  • must be as tall as possible
  • measured by vertical height
  • scissors cannot be used as part of the tower

That’s it. There are no more rules or constraints. 

The test: Stands up by itself with no support long enough to be measured.

Improve: Engineering is all about iteration. Feel free to ditch your tower if you don’t like it, it’s not tall enough for you, or just doesn’t work. Get fresh materials and try again. And again. And again. It is entirely possible to build a tower that is 70 inches tall!!

© Erin Denniston, M.Ed