Keva Towers

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A tower made using Keva Planks

Challenge

Design the tallest tower using only 30 Keva planks

Supplies

  • 30 Keva Planks (or other non-linking blocks; one set for each visitor)
  • Meter stick for measuring
  • Small whiteboard for recording scores

What to do

  • The visitors design and build the tallest tower they can using the allowed number of Keva Planks.
  • Once the tower is done (and free standing; they cannot support it), measure their tower in cm.
  • Record the tallest height on the whiteboard
  • Encourage them to make a taller tower. “Great job… now, do you think you can make it taller?”
  • By using trial and error allow the visitor to innovate new and better ways to design a stable tower.

What’s happening?

By limiting the materials available to build the towers, we are giving the visitor a more realistic engineering challenge than simply "Build the tallest tower" since most problems that must be solved have limited resources. In this case, there are specific bounds on the towers they can build. It is impossible to have a tower shorter than 1/2 cm. This is one "bound". The other is if you could stack them in a single column, the tower would be 360cm high. Neither of these are likely, which means that any tower the visitors build, can be improved. They must think about balance, stability, selecting the best foundation (build on the cart or on the floor), maximizing the height of each block, steady hands and as they get taller, even air currents in the room.