Want a quick STEM challenge for the holidays? This building peppermint candy towers challenge uses only one material, and you guessed it … peppermint candies!
Stacking peppermint candies on top of one another may not be as easy as you thought. How tall can you make your peppermint candy tower before it comes crashing down?
Even though this is a simple winter STEM activity, with the free printable worksheet, your kid can learn a lot about problem-solving and the engineering design process.
Let’s get stacking!
Build a Peppermint Candy Tower Challenge
1. Try and build the tallest peppermint candy tower possible using only the peppermint candies provided.
2. Record your data on the printable worksheet to keep track of the number of mints you were able to stack before the tower falls.
If you are a homeschool parent, you can do this challenge with your kid or have your kids go head to head to see who can build the tallest candy tower. Trust me, it’s not as easy as you think! My son managed to stack one more peppermint candy than me after multiple tumbles.
I recommend doing this on a piece of paper on a level surface. Also, make sure your kids dry their hands before touching the candies, or else the candies will get sticky.
If you are a teacher, this challenge is a great one to have your kids do in groups. They can work in teams and add the number of candies from the tallest stacks the individual team members built as the group total. They can discuss why one team member is getting a taller stack than others so that they can work together to improve their group total in the second trial.
Interestingly, I never told my kids that they had to stack the peppermint candies in one column. They could have tried to make a pyramid or triangular prism with the candies. When I asked them why they didn’t try other designs at the end of the challenge, they were like “oh my gosh I didn’t think of that!” A good lesson on thinking outside of the box!
The Engineering Design Process for Kids
The engineering design process is probably something you intuitively do when faced with a problem, but you might skip a couple of steps. It’s useful for kids to learn the process even if they are not set out to be an engineer because it helps solve real-world problems in everyday life.
Here are the 7 steps to the engineering design process:
- Ask: Identify the problem or challenge.
- Brainstorm: Come up with possible solutions for the problems.
- Plan and Design: List the materials needed and draw the design.
- Create: Build the model or create the solution according to the plan.
- Test and Analyze: Test the model or solution and analyze the results.
- Improve: Make necessary changes to the model or solution to better solve the problem.
- Communicate: Share the results.
If this is the first time your kid is learning about the engineering design process, it’s best to start with a simple STEM challenge like this peppermint candy tower challenge. This way, the focus is not on coming up with a brain-racking solution. Instead, you can go through the steps one by one to come up with the best design.
Have lots of fun with this minty and refreshing STEM activity!
YOU MAY LIKE: