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3-D Mini Structures
Project Description (21)

During this project the students will put their engineering and math skills to the test! Students must design their own building that is at least 200 ft. tall and build a smaller scale version of their building using popsicle sticks. They must do the math to create a handheld version, create a key and have a blueprint design of their building.

This activity can be done individually or in pairs.

Recommended Grade 3rd grade

NGSS: Engineering
3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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Learning Outcomes

1. Practicing/learning division skills
2. Ability to create an effective and easy to read blueprint
3. Practicing measuring and units skills
4. Practicing Patience
5. Failing-Up


-Popsicle sticks
-Hot glue guns
-Hot glue sticks
-Large Paper


1. Introduce activity and parameters students must meet
2. Students must design and create blueprint of the buildings
3. Approve blueprints as they finalize them
4. Supply them with the popsicle sticks they need based on their blueprint (they should be able to tell you they amount they need)
5. If students need more popsicle sticks have them mathematically explain why and what they did wrong the first time
6. Do the same with students who return popsicle sticks they did not use

1. Talk to the students about what was hard and what was easy
2. Have students demonstrate the math the applied to determine the amount of popsicle sticks they needed
3. Do a reflection with students sharing what they created and what they are most proud of

Time Estimate: 60-75 minutes


We did this project differently and this is our edited version! We have not yet tried this, but expect great results. Before we had the students go straight into the building without any math or blueprint, it was solely and engineering activity. By adding the math and other parameters it will give the students more structure and less frustration during the building stage.

Students struggled most with getting it off the ground/building a strong base.