Middle School Straw Tower Design Challenge tests students’ application of STEM principles

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  • Upper Left: Blendon Middle Team
  • Upper Right: Genoa Middle Team
  • Bottom Left: Heritage Middle Team
  • Bottom Right: Walnut Springs Middle Team




Sixth-grade students taking advanced science classes participated in the 8th Annual Middle School Straw Tower Design Challenge. During this Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, which occurred prior to extended school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, participating teams used an established amount of materials to build the tallest straw tower possible. The tower also had to support the weight of a tennis ball for at least one minute.

The Walnut Springs team of Ava Alexander, Jayden Cruz, Collin Dalton, and Coryanne Raney (taught by Mrs. Kim Neal), took first place with a tower of 54.2 cm. Not far behind in second place were Genoa students Owen Frizzell, Miles Blankenburg and Trey O'Bryan (taught by Mr. Scott Delligatti), who built a 45.5 cm tower. Finally, the Heritage team of Kyra Holmes, Desmond Okantey, and Ashley Filbrun (taught by Mr. Jason Tucker and Ms. Amy Freeman) and the Blendon team of Anna Connell and Conner Blackburn (taught by Mrs. Nancy Brobts) tied for the final place with their towers reaching 40 cm.

The design challenge is supported by the district’s Science and Gifted Education Departments.