Construct a Gumdrop Structure!

20 02 2009

Here’s a fun project we did at Day Camp that you can try at home!


Objective: Use sweet materials to build a structure with strength!

 Materials Needed: gumdrops, toothpicks



What’s the big deal about triangles?


As you’ve probably already discovered, squares collapse easily under compression. Four toothpicks joined in a square tend to collapse by giving way at their joints, their weakest points.

 gumdrop structure

But if you make a toothpick triangle, the situation changes. The only way to change the angles of the triangle is by shortening one of the sides. So to make the triangle collapse you would have to push hard enough to break one of the toothpicks.


If you want to, you can use your gumdrops and toothpicks to build some strong structures that are made by combining triangles and squares. Looking for other triangles in structures around you may give you ideas for other designs you can build with gumdrops and toothpicks.


What other shapes can you make that will withstand applied force?




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