SaH: Toothpick Engineering

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If you take a look at a building, you will see that the architecture is made up of many shapes of all different sizes. Take a look at buildings and houses near you. Can you figure out what shapes are the best to use when building a tower of toothpicks? Share a picture of your design below!



How tall and strong can you build a tower of toothpicks?



  • Toothpicks
  • Gumdrops or mini marshmallows


What to Do

  1. Build a tower as tall as possible using only toothpicks and a sticky candy (like gumdrops or mini marshmallows.
  2. Once you have a tower as tall as you can build it, begin testing the strength of your building.
  3. You can imitate natural disasters by blowing on the building (tornado) or jostling the base of it (earthquake).

Can you identify the strongest shapes to use in your tower?


How much weight can your tower hold?


What is Happening?

In this activity, you can explore the science and thought process behind engineering a building. You will learn more from this exploration if you test your design, rebuild, and keep testing it for improvements. Then you will be using the scientific method of asking questions, testing hypothesis, gathering and analyzing data, and asking new questions!

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We here at the Reading Science Center understand that these are unprecedented times. as such, we wanted you to know that we are taking the following precautions until further notice:

  • We have an air scrubber (Vollara) that we use in the Center
  • We have deep cleaning complete weekly 
  • Sanitizing every three hours using MICROBAN Sanitizing spray
  • Hand Snaitizer is readily available throughout the Center
  • Masking is required regardless of vaccination status
  • Limiting Hours (No Tuesdays until February)
  • Temperature Checks and an illness questionnaire
  • We respectfully request that if you or a family member with you is feeling under the weather, you visit us another time.  
  • If we need to close, we will post on Social Media as soon as we have made the decision

Thank You and we look forward to you and your family visiting the Reading Science Center!