Windy City Tower (Student Instruction)

Make a paper tower that can withstand as much wind as possible.


Windy City Tower Challenge


STEM careers

Grade level


  • 4 sheets of paper
  • Tape
  •  Scissors
  •  Ruler/yardstick
  • A weight with a hole in the middle, such as a large washer. Or you can make a weight by taping pennies to the end of a toilet paper tube.
  • Electric fan


We challenge you to make a paper tower that can withstand as much wind as possible.

There are 3 constraints for this challenge (an engineering constraint is a limitation on your design):

  • You only have 4 sheets of paper and tape to build your tower – nothing else.
  • The tower should be free-standing meaning it can’t be taped to the ground
  • And, the tower has to be strong enough and tall enough to hold the weight at least 14″ above the ground

Brainstorm Designs and Build

Sketch out a few ideas. Think about how you can build your tower so it’s really stable, but doesn’t catch too much wind.


Set up a fan 6 feet away from your tower. Set the fan on low and see how it does. Did your tower withstand the wind? Try moving the fan forward in 1-foot intervals until your tower blows over. How close can you get?

Evaluate and Redesign

  • Did your tower do as well as you thought it would?
  • Did your tower slide rather than blow over, or the other way around? Why?
  • What could you change to make your tower even stronger against wind?

Make Changes and Try Again!

Share Your Results with a Teacher, Parent/Guardian, or DiscoverE!

You can email photos to DiscoverE at


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