OPPD is challenging all 5th grade students in their service area to channel their inner engineer and build the tallest structure they can within 20 minutes, using some unconventional materials.
The project, coinciding with National Engineers Week, encourages teamwork, innovation and creativity. The tallest three structures will win prizes for their classroom and teacher.
OPPD is accepting electronic entries, with uploaded photos, via Facebook/OmahaPublicPowerDistrict, until 5 p.m., Feb. 19. Teams of three to four students currently enrolled in 5th grade or the equivalent are invited to participate. Those teams are to be given the following materials:
• 20 full pieces of spaghetti (standard-sized, not fettuccini or angel hair)
• One standard-sized marshmallow (no mini or jumbo marshmallows)
• One yard (36”) of standard masking tape
• One yard (36”) of string
Teams will use those materials to construct the tallest free-standing structure they can in 20 minutes or less, but it has to be able to support the marshmallow on top.
The structure must be built on a table or desk top, and it must remain free-standing until it is measured. It cannot lean against anything other than the desktop or table on which it is constructed, and can't be supported from above. No human contact is allowed for support.
Materials may be manipulated as necessary. The marshmallow may be pierced by the spaghetti, but it cannot be cut into smaller pieces or reduced in size. No materials may be replaced once the contest has begun.
All students within the winning classrooms will receive an OPPD Society of Engineers goody bag. The classroom teacher or facilitator will also receive a portable cell phone battery charger.
OPPD will also provide a speaker for winning classrooms, to talk about a career in engineering. Winners will be announced Feb. 20.