Virtual Instant Challenge: Container It!

Virtual Instant Challenge: Container It!

We’re back with an all-new Virtual Instant Challenge! Our Virtual Instant Challenges are short STEAM-based activities that can be done between kids and their friends online. They can also be done as a family or through distance learning. For this challenge, kids will race to see who can build a structure that is able to fit in five different size containers. Before starting the challenge, make sure everyone has their materials handy. After completing the challenge, have them reflect on their process using our Reflection Questions.

Container It! Instant Challenge

Setup: Contact one or more friends and challenge them to an unusual race to see who can build the perfect structure to match a variety of containers.

Gather your five containers: A plastic drinking glass, a plastic bottle, a shoe, a small empty box, and an envelope

Gather your materials: 1 sheet of paper, 4 straws, 2 mailing labels or 3 inches (7.6 cm) of tape, 4 paper clips, measuring tape (for measuring purposes only)

Download and print the challenge and make sure everyone participating has a copy.

Challenge: Create one tall structure that fits in a variety of containers.

  • Using the materials listed above, create the tallest structure possible that will sit inside each of the containers.
  • The structure must sit inside the container and not touch anything other than the container.
  • The structure may be placed inside the containers in any order you wish but may not be changed to sit inside other containers. For example, if your structure fits inside the small box but does not fit inside the water bottle, you may not redesign your structure.

Time: You and your friends will decide on the limit, but keep it short enough to make it challenging!


A. 1 point (30 points total) for each inch (centimeter) of height
B. 5 points if the structure sits inside the box
C. 10 point if the structure sits inside the shoe
D. 15 points if the structure sits inside the plastic glass
E. 20 points if the structure sits inside the empty bottle
F. 25 points if the structure sits inside the envelope

Reflection Questions:

  1. What strategy did you use to build a structure that would rest inside each container?
  2. How did you decide which container to test first?
  3. Which item(s) were the best materials to use for building a tall structure?
  4. How would you choose different containers if you did this challenge again?

Click here to download and/or print a copy of this Instant Challenge.

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