Gumdrop Dome

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
In this engineering activity, learners construct sturdy geodesic structures out of gumdrops and toothpicks. Use this activity to explore engineering principles as well as sturdy shapes and triangles. In the online version of this activity, learners are challenged to build a structure that will support a stack of books. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 25 toothpicks
  • 11 gumdrops


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
      • Solid Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, WGBH Educational Foundation, 2002

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0229796
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation
  • PBS