Sticky Engineering Challenge

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In this activity, learners explore how engineers work in a team to solve problems. Learners investigate how different adhesives are selected for different applications, and how individual component choice can impact the success or failure of a product. Learners work in teams to design a structure which must withhold the weight of a can of soup or soda using simple materials which must be glued together. Learners determine material choice, execute their plan, and evaluate the strategies employed all teams.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 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
  • 30 popsicle sticks
  • 10 paper clips
  • 2 sheets of paper
  • A variety of glue options (school or washable glue, wood glue, rubber cement, glue sticks)
  • Standard weight (identical cans of soup or soda - about 10 oz or 300 grams)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    • Technology
      • Manufacturing
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • 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



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