Vex IQ Lab – The Tallest Tower

The Vex IQ lab, “The Tallest Tower”, is a fabulous introductory workshop that helps students become familiar with the Vex components and the iterative design process that they will be encouraged to deploy throughout the Vex program and future careers. 

In this lab, the students will first build a platform that will bump around and shake to simulate an earthquake. The students will develop their attention to detail and the correct terms to describe the components.

The next step is to design a tall tower, like the one you might see in a big city in a fixed time frame of 10 or 15 mins.

Then test it on the earthquake platform. Time how long it stayed upright and together.

Students are then encouraged to reflect on their observations. 

  • What happened? 
  • Can I make it stronger or more stable?
  • Does it need more bracing?
  • What if I used different components?
  • Where is the centre of gravity?
  • Is shape important?

Then make changes to their design and repeat the design cycle until they are either happy with the design or time runs out. 

The importance of documentation is also introduced in this workshop. Encouraging the development of good habits. 

This workshop can be integrated into other units of inquiry at school. Including the PYP themes of “Where we are in place and time” or “How the world works” by exploring:

  • How are skyscrapers made?
    • How is Christchurch rebuilding?
    • What is seismic isolation?
    • How are new materials impacting building design?
  • Geology:
    • Why do earthquakes happen? 
    • How did these hills form?
    • Why do volcanoes erupt?
  • Science
    • How can we predict when these events are going to happen?
    • How do we measure the impact of these natural events?
  • History
    • Where have these events occurred in the last 20 years
    • What have we done to minimalise damage and human loss?

Our mentors will provide the school or classroom teacher with the information on the chosen STEM Lab activity in advance of the class.  The information will include:

  • A Description of the activity
  • Key Concepts
  • Objectives
  • Lesson format
  • Facilitation notes
  • Build instructions
  • Discussion points.

During the class our mentor will provide guidance to the students on:

  • How to approach the task.
  • How to problem solve and find multiple ways of solving the problem.
  • How to test their solution.
  • What to document regarding their findings and components that should be documented in an Engineering Design book.
  • Reflecting on the design cycle.

Classroom teachers will be required to maintain discipline during the STEM lab and assist students when needed.  

Any formal assessment should be conducted by the classroom teacher. If you would like a assessment matrix for this Vex IQ Lab Workshop please ask when booking.

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