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Family STEAM Challenge: Apple Structures

take a bite out of fall with this creative project

Having fun with food is always a great way to get kiddos to try out new foods or eat foods they normally don’t – like fruits and veggies. With this STEAM challenge we can have fun with apples (or whatever food you’d like) while having kiddos try them, too!

This Issue’s STEAM Topic:

Exploring and observing the science behind building a structure. How it stands tall, wide, or long.

The Mission:

Use your scientific and detective skills to figure out the best way to build the tallest structure using apples and toothpicks as your building materials.

The Challenge:

How can you make a structure that can stand on its own, with no other support than apples and toothpicks? Challenge yourself by setting a timer and racing a friend.

Materials You Could Use (but are not limited to):
  • Apples (diced)

  • Toothpicks

  • Paper and pencil (optional)

Building Your Structure:

First dice up your apples. This is great practice for children to learn how to safely use a knife and prepare a healthy snack. Once the apples are diced, you can use your paper and pencil to sketch a drawing of how you want your structure to look. This is how real builder prepare to construct their project. After you have your structure sketched out, it is time to build. Start with the bottom level of your structure, sticking the toothpick ends into the apple pieces to support the structure. Then build it as high as you can. Once you are done building, you can remove the toothpicks and eat the leftover apple pieces for a snack!

Questions to Mull Over:
  • Can you use other foods?


  • What if you use multiple different types of foods?


  • Would a larger toothpick such as a skewer works?


  • Should the base be larger or smaller than the top?


  • Should there be more apples at the top or bottom?


  • What is the best weight distribution?

The Family STEAM Challenge is all about experimenting with the ordinary to make the extraordinary! Chippewa Valley Family challenges your family to think and play together all in the name of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (that’s where the STEAM comes in).

Each challenge can be completed as a family or a group of friends in as little or as much time needed; however, most challenges can be completed within one sitting. The Family STEAM Challenge is also designed to get all ages involved through hands-on experimenting.

Thank you to Sarah McInnis with the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire for making this STEAM challenge possible!


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