STEM: Doodle-Engineering-Challenge (Scientific Method)

Time Required: Two 45-60 minute sessions
Skill Level: Beginner
Recommended Grades: 3rd to 5th

In this lesson, pairs of students will use the 3Doodler in an attempt to build the tallest structure in the class. In addition to the 3Doodler, students will be given either toothpicks or straws as construction materials. The 3Doodler will be used to adhere the building materials together. Students will use higher-level thinking skills to make predictions in order to form a hypothesis, record materials, observations, results, and analyze structures to determine the key to building the tallest tower.

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Lesson Plan


Step 1

Bring the students together for a group discussion.

Share the goal: During this session, paired students will use the 3Doodler in an attempt to build the tallest structure in the class.

Depending on the grade level, you may prefer having students work with toothpicks with rounded tips or paper straws.

*Note that straws must be paper, not plastic.

Step 2

Demonstrate how to begin the structure with a foundation composed of a flat shape, Students may create a triangular, rhombic, or square-shaped base for their towers. Weld each of the corners together using the 3Doodler, then begin adding levels and working up.

*Older students may require less discussion before attempting the challenge.

*Younger students may require help from an aide, teacher or older students.

Step 3

Project your computer or tablet on the screen for students to view the Doodle-Tower-Lab Worksheet. Go over with them how they are supposed to fill it in.

Step 4

Review how to measure inches with a ruler.

Step 5

Divide students into pairs and hand out the Doodle-Tower-Lab Worksheet. Instruct students to complete questions 1 and 2 before getting started.

Step 6

Hand out the construction materials and the 3Doodlers. Circle to assist and assess as students work.

Step 7

When students have completed their construction, prompt them to finish the Doodle-Tower-Lab Worksheet with their partners.

Wrap Up

Have the pairs share their Doodle-Towers.

Measure each of their Towers to see which one is the tallest.

Ask students for feedback on what makes a tower sturdy enough to be tall. *A good foundation.

Allow students to try the same activity again based on the information observed, shared and learned.

Share students' Doodle-Towers on Twitter. #3DoodlerEDU @3Doodler


The teacher will assess the students by evaluating their Doodle-Towers, Doodle-Tower-Lab Worksheets, and by their feedback during the partner and group discussions. *Note: There is no one correct response to this open-ended design challenge.

Possible Extensions

Students will attempt to build a sturdy bridge using the same materials. The teacher will test their bridge using pennies. Students will make a hypothesis based on how many pennies they think that their bridge will be able to hold. Students will record observations, data, and conclusions. For older students, explore various weather conditions. Determine which towers can withstand them through a simulation, e.g., for a storm, use a hose to spray the structure.


  • analyze - examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of (something, especially information), typically for purposes of explanation and interpretation.

  • balance - an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

  • collaboration - to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

  • conclusion - a judgment or decision reached by reasoning.

  • construction - the building of something, typically a large structure.

  • data - factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.

  • design - to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans (for a work to be executed), especially to plan the form and structure of an object, building, bridge, etc...

  • engineering - the art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants.

  • hypothesis - a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

  • observation - an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.

  • problem-solving - the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.

  • STEM - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, considered as a group of academic or career fields.

  • synthesize - combine (a number of things) into a coherent whole.

Educational Standards

Common Core

Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

In This Lesson

Students will discuss how to build a sturdy, tall structure with their partners, their teacher, and and their peers.

Common Core

Build on others' talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.

In This Lesson

Students will build on the talk of others during the group discussion and through the discussions with their partner throughout this project.

Next Gen Science

Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

In This Lesson

Students will attempt to build the tallest structure. Students will gather information, discuss their results and then attempt to develop an improved tower.

CS Teachers

Decompose (break down) a larger problem into smaller sub-problems with teacher guidance or independently.

In This Lesson

Students will break down the process of building the tallest tower through the Scientific Thinking process of recording a hypothesis, observations, data, and conclusions.


Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

In This Lesson

Students will use a 3Doodler to construct towers of various heights and designs.


Create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

In This Lesson

Students will construct an original design plan with a 3Doodler.


Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

In This Lesson

Students will work with a partner and with their peers throughout the doodling, problem solving and creation processes.

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