Science for Kids/toothpick tower

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Question
I have to build a toothpick tower from 650 flat wooden toothpicks. I am only allowed three hours and can only use wood glue or white glue. it has to be strong enough to hold a math textbook please help me

Answer
Hi Ameena,

when you glue the sticks together be sure to do flat to flat as this will give you the most strength.  Don't make a square tower but rather a roundish one as round can bear more weight like a math book.  First draw a circle on your foam core base as a size template.  Make the circle between 3.5 and 4 inches (between 75 and 100mm in diameter).  I don't know how long your tooth picks are but lay them out so that the first layer has gaps and the second layer goes across those gaps and so on for the total number. As you build your tower make sure that it is straight.  The last layer also needs to be flat so if you have any toothpicks left over glue them to the inside of the tower from the base upwards. This will help carry load.

Making sure that it is straight is critical since this is how the weight of the book will be carried to the base!

Good Luck!

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Ralph Salier-Hellendag

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
BA Archaeology - Anthropology
MA Business Anthropology

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