Select at least 2 of the following areas of interest and do
activity - either the one listed here or another equivalent
Structures: Explore how to build a tower that is stable and
Materials for each team: 15-20 Gumdrops, 20-30 marshmallows
(preferably the little ones), 40 toothpicks (round ones with
2 pointy ends).
Step 1) Divide the girls into teams of three.
Step 2) Each team should build a tower with the materials provided.
The goal is to build the highest tower possible, without it
Step 3) They can now dismantle the tower and eat the marshmallows
Tips: They need to build a strong base before trying to build
it high. Cross bracing (i.e. triangles with the toothpicks)
help to reinforce the
When the tower starts to tip over, quickly place some toothpicks
in the way that it is tipping to support the tower better. There
is no wrong design!
Buoyancy: Explore the effect of boat design on its ability
to hold weight.
Materials for each girl: piece of aluminum foil approximately
30 cm by roll width. Also, bring a large container, or several
buckets, and lots of pennies (100 or so).
Step 1) Give each girl a piece of aluminum foil. Direct them
to make a boat with it. Tell them you will be counting how many
pennies it will hold without sinking.
Step 2) Fill the large container or buckets (or use the sink)
about halfway full of water. Float a couple of boats at a time.
Drop the pennies one by one into each boat (the girls can help
Step 3) Discuss the designs with the girls. Can they see why
some boats took on water very quickly (perhaps there was a hole,
or a fold in the foil, at the water level)? Can they see why
some boats held many pennies (perhaps the boats had large flat
bottoms or higher sides)?
Tips: Let their imaginations guide them in their design because
you want a variety of boat designs to illustrate why some boats
hold the pennies and why some sink.
Flight: Make a paper helicopter called a spinner! It
will spin faster as the girls add more weight.
Materials for each girl: piece of writing paper (9 cm X 12
cm), 6 paper clips, scissors, and pencil. (Click
here for diagram.)
Step 1) Have an adult measure and cut the paper (along the
lines) as shown. Label each spinner with a girl's name.
Step 2) The girls can fold the two outside flaps in opposite
directions as shown. Then they should attach a paper clip.
Step 3) Have the girls stand on a chair, on a stage, or at
the top of a stairwell, and drop their spinner.
Step 4) Retrieve the spinner, add another paper clip or two
and try again. Continue until you've used about 6 clips, or
the girls are losing interest!
Tips: The dimensions are important. Also, the higher the girls
can drop it from the more impressive the spinning will be. A
loft or stage is ideal.
Why: As the spinner falls, the air rushes out from under the
wings, in all directions. Some of the air hits the edge of the
body near the wing, causing it to rotate. As the weight increases,
the spinner drops faster, and this increases the air movement
around the wing, which causes the spinner to spin faster. Perhaps
a little 'heavy' for 5 and 6 year olds, but they will enjoy
Sound: Explore how to concentrate and amplify sounds using
an ear trumpet.
Materials for each girl : large sheet of paper, tape, crayons.
Also, bring a radio.
Step 1) If time permits, the girls can decorate their ear trumpets.
Step 2) With the help of an adult, roll the large sheet of
paper into a cone shape and tape the ends. The small end of
the cone should be large enough to fit over their ear (approximately
7 cm in diameter) so that they can't stick it into their ears!
Step 3) Once everyone is quiet, play a radio or stereo quietly.
girls to place their trumpet over one ear and aim the trumpet
at the radio to see if the radio sounds louder.
Step 4) The girls can turn the trumpet around and try talking
narrow end to see how it amplifies their voice. Have them shout
out their names all at the same time to see who is the loudest!
Why: The cone shape focuses, or concentrates, sound in one
direction. For example, when you are shouting in the narrow
end, it focuses the sound of your voice in the direction you
are aiming the trumpet, which makes the sound louder and it
Challenge created by the Alberta Program Committee 2000