Apple Tower STEAM Activity for Kids

By: Tina Shaffer

Looking for more ways to incorporate fun, affordable STEAM activities into your virtual or in-person classroom, learning pod, or homeschool? With apple picking season in full swing, we’ve got a brand-new Instant Challenge for you!

For this STEAM activity, students will build a freestanding tower as tall as possible that can hold an apple at least 10 inches in the air. (Parents and educators can modify the time limit or materials based on the age of the participants.)

After the students complete the activity, use the Processing Questions (provided below) to help them reflect on their experience.

Your kids or students can complete the activity individually or as a group. For virtual groups, consider having one student gather all of the materials and build the structure based only on the instructions given by their group members.

Challenge: Using the materials below, build a freestanding structure as tall as possible that can hold an apple at least 10 inches above the surface on which you are building your structure. The apple must balance on the top of the structure for at least 10 seconds.

Materials: 6 straws, 3 sheets of paper, 2 index cards, 4 pencils (unsharpened), 4 mailing labels (or 6 inches of tape), 2 rubber bands, 1 apple, 1 ruler (for measuring only)

Time: 10 minutes

Scoring (add a little competition to your class activity!):

A. 10 points if your structure successfully holds the apple on top
B. 10 points if the height of your structure is at 10-14 inches; 15 points if the height of your structure is 15-18 inches; 20 points if the height of your structure is 19-22 inches; 25 points if the height of your structure is 23 inches or more
C. 10 points if you do not use the mailing labels/tape
D. Up to 20 points for the creativity of your structure
E. Up to 20 points for how well your group works together (please be sure to follow your local CDC guidelines if your group is completing this activity in-person)

Processing Questions:

  1. What was the hardest part of building the structure? What was the easiest?
  2. If you could have used different materials to build your structure, what would you use?
  3. If you could build your structure again, what would you do differently?
  4. How did each of your group members contribute to the solution (if applicable)?

Looking for more Instant Challenges like this? Click here to download 5 free exclusive STEAM activities or check out additional activities in our Free Resource Library.