Activity: Tower Investigation and the Egg



Towers have been a part of developed society for centuries. Towers serve a variety of purposes, as a lookout to a cellular tower. In this activity student groups will build three types of towers, engineering them to hold an egg one foot high for 15 seconds.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY [1 = Least Difficult : 5 = Most Difficult]



60 minutes


$10 per class


II. Engineering Design
2.1 Identify and explain the steps of the engineering design process, i.e., identify the need or problem, research the problem, develop possible solutions, select the best possible solution(s), construct a prototype, test and evaluate, communicate the solution(s), and redesign.
2.2 Demonstrate methods of representing solutions to a design problem, e.g., sketches, orthographic projections, multiview drawings.
2.4 Identify appropriate materials, tools, and machines needed to construct a prototype of a given engineering design.
2.5 Explain how such design features as size, shape, weight, function and cost limitations (i.e., ergonomics) would affect the construction of a given prototype.
V. Construction Technologies
5.1 Describe and explain parts of a structure, e.g. foundation, flooring, decking, wall, roofing systems.
5.3 Explain how the forces of tension, compression, torsion, bending and shear affect the performance of bridges.

Engineering Design Process (egg holder at top of tower)
Parts of a structure
Types of towers and comparisons
Safe usage of tools and machines
Forces that must be taken into consideration when building structures

The ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS has the following steps: identify the need or problem, research the problem, develop possible solutions, selct the best possible solution(s), construct a prototype, test and evaluate, communicate the solution(s), and redesign.

TOWERS are usually classified into three categories: guyed or cable supported, free-standing or self-standing, and monopole. The self support and monopole towers are both similar in that neither require guy wires or any other support structure. Also, most engineers choose the guyed type because it is the most inexpensive route.
As a general rule there are three main specifications needed to choose a tower site: site selection, tower type, and tower specification knowledge (or tower code) within the community.
Also, see fairly fundamental facts about FORCES, George and Prime

Pictures or examples of towers
Internet locations of tower information (see links under REFERENCES)
Cardboard tubes and sheet material. Cardboard sheets can be purchased from local paper suppliers or donated from local printers. An allotted amount should be provided to each team of students for each tower problem.
Materials readily available in the classroom such as straws, tape, hot glue, string, etc.
Note: Where available, sturdier towers can be built with small wooden dowels and plastic tubing. This would enable students to be exposed to a variety of hand and power tools
Find materials, websites. Provide photocopies of tower diagrams if desired.
1. Introduce the topic of towers, perhaps facilitate a discussion on different types of towers and there uses. Talk about the design process, including a discussion on the benefits of sketches, multiview drawings, and orthographic projections.
2. Organize students into small groups.
3. Explain criteria for the tower design and construction. Each group will design and make one of each of the following: a guyed tower (cable supported), a self-standing tower, and a monopole tower. Each tower must be able to support the weight of an egg for 15 seconds
4. Students will test and measure the three types of towers by evaluating height, strength (ability to hold an egg), and the amount of material usage
5. Students will participate in the presentation of the group solutions to the class.
6. Students will present comparisons or advantages and disadvantages of the different types of towers
What is the purpose of towers? Why is one type of tower preferable to another?
How can an egg be held and supported at the top of a tower?
How can we build models to represent the three recognized types of towers?
What is meant by tension, compression, torsion and shear in construction?
What are the parts of this structure (tower) that are similar to those found in bridge design?
Sturdivant, Peter. So You Want to Build a Tower? August 9, 2001. [online].

Tower Photographs.
August 9, 2001. [online]. (Used with the permission of Pre-Engineering Software Corporation.)


See Associated Download.


See Associated Download.