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Penny Tower

Penny Tower

Your challenge is to build a structure that will hold a penny as high as possible.


You will have 8 minutes to solve the challenge. The judge will warn you when 2 minutes and when 1-minute remains. You are allowed to ask questions and talk to each other at any time.


(see set-up)


Place a table in the middle of the room for the team to build its structure.

The structure is not allowed to touch anything else when being scored.

Place a penny on the table and give each team the following materials:
5 pipe cleaners
6 rubber bands
2 unsharpened pencils (may not be damaged)
1” cube of clay
3 6” long pieces of foil
20 wooden toothpicks
2 small adhesive mailing labels
1 sock
2 4-6 oz. cups
2 paper plates


Your problem is to build a structure that will hold this penny as high as possible above this table.

  1. There are materials to use to create your solution. Nothing else may be used. You are not allowed to damage anything marked with a white label

  2. Your structure must touch only the table and penny when measuring for score.

  3. You may ask to be scored at any time. Competition is over when you ask to be scored or when time ends.

For Judges Only:

Use a measuring tape to measure from the table to where the penny rests on the structure. If the structure falls while measuring, do your best to score it as it was when the team finished. A laser pointer can help with measurement.   Round up or down to the nearest inch when measuring where the penny rests.


You will receive 1 point for each inch that your penny rests above the table.

You will receive 1 to 10 points for the creativity of your solution.

You will receive 1 to 10 points for how well your team works together.


Were team member tasks and responsibilities sorted out clearly?

When scoring how well the team works together, consider the extent that all team members are involved, if they value one another’s input, etc.

When scoring creativity of the team’s solution, consider strategy, experimentation, and how they use the materials.

Was time used effectively?

What would the team do differently if they did it again?

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