Science for Kids/TOOTHPICK TOWER


What are some ideas of designs to build a tower out of limited materials:
650 flat toothpicks (provided by teacher)
white glue or carpenters glue (not provided)
XL Tim Horton's cup (provided)
The structure should be tall (record 1.6m) and should hold a thick history textbook


Hi Hardee,

The structure should be round like a tube.  There should be lots of cross bracing like you see on the Eiffel Tower or older power transmission lines.  Remember that the uprights need to be some what like columns that carry the weight and the cross bracing helps to stabilize the structure.  The Tim Horton's cup base gives you an idea of the diameter of the structure and can be used at the top of the structure to give the book something more stable or "flat" to rest upon.  I would not use it as the bottom of the structure as I may collapse with the weight.

It may work like a water tower with the cup sitting on a flat structure at the top of the cylinder.  I would use a minimum of 4 columns to a maximum of 6 columns each column should be build separately where the toothpicks are slightly staggered with 5 to 6 toothpicks making up each section.  The cross bracing can be much simpler two in the form of an X.  ALso besure to have latteral braces.  These are horizontal to the vertical columns.  These should also be two toothpicks wide and are inserted into the columns with the X bracing coming into the columns at the same point.

I hope this works for you.  Good Luck.  Let me know how it works out.

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Ralph Salier-Hellendag


Science Fair Judge for many years and experience with robotics, biology, chemistry, industrial processes, metalurgy and metal forming.


Science Fair Judge for many years and have helped several students get to state level competition. Most recently 2 of my students received state level awards and one went on to the nationals in Washington DC.

BA Archaeology - Anthropology
MA Business Anthropology

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