Move That Lighthouse!

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In this activity, learners explore how engineers work in a team to solve problems. Learners learn how structural, economic, and environmental factors must be evaluated when planning to move a lighthouse or other building. Learners work in teams to plan the safe and efficient move of a tower of blocks on a desk, execute their plan, and evaluate the strategies employed by other teams.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Resource Sheets
  • Student Worksheets
  • Blocks, weighted milk cartons or stacks of books
  • Standard student desk
  • Strips of cardboard
  • Tape
  • String
  • Pencils
  • Rollers (optional)
  • Castors (optional)
  • Plastic sheets (optional)
  • Fan (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
  • The Nature of Science
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, IEEE,