Pumpkin Tower Challenge

October 29, 2015
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This week’s challenge was thematic to this weekend’s Halloween festivities. Thechallenge was to build a two and a half feet tall freestanding structure that could support a pumpkin, which weighed about four pounds, for 20 seconds. If multiple teams were able to complete this initial objective, than the winner would be chosen based on how scary the structure’s decorations were. To make the structure, teams were limited to using wooden dowels and tape. The structure could then be decorated with markers, paper or candy corn. Teams were given 45 minutes to work before their creations were put to the test.

Last week, my teammate was a fellow student who I just met at the innovation challenge. I had learned that he was a mechanical engineering major, so as a public health major, I was happy to work with him again this week.  We began this project by drawing several designs of possible structures. We initially thought of building a squared structure upon which we could set the pumpkin. However, this week, we had severely limited resources. At our disposable was a limited number of relatively thin wooden dowels. We also had to build the structure to be two and half feet tall. This made creating support structures very difficult. Facing this problem, we decided to create a triangular structure. This would save on materials, while still providing enough strength to support a pumpkin. We worked together to cut down and tape the dowels together. After creating three long pillars, we fit a triangular hold for the pumpkin which we attached to the top. At this point, our structure was quite flimsy. We then attached smaller wooden pieces around the joints to act as braces. Secondly, we added braces connecting the three pillars of the structure. This process actually took a significant amount of time, and looking around the room, we noticed that other teams were also struggling with creating a viable structure. Soon, we were faced with a serious time crunch as we were trying to level out our structure, while also trying to decorate it. During the 10 minutes of our time, I had been thinking about potential decorations. I thought of taping two markers together at an angle to mimic spider legs. I wanted to attach several pairs of these legs to the structure so that when the pumpkin sat on top it would become the body of a spider; which I learned was a phobia that I shared with my teammate. This plan did not come to fruition as upon discussion, my teammate urged me to continue working on solidifying our structure, given that supporting the pumpkin was the first objective. We discussed this and I ended up agreeing and dedicated my time to the build. It was difficult to balance design with the task at hand, but have a preset list of priorities helped us make the decision to work on the structure first. During that time, we could hear one of the other teams nearby bickering with each other. This did not surprise me as one of the challenge requirements is that team members must be studying different majors. Studying a certain topic area can stream line the thought process and lead to conflict. I think our team worked well together because we had worked together once before and had the opportunity to see and trust in the contributions that we each offered. In the end, we managed to create a structure that we thought would have a fighting chance at supporting the pumpkin.

There were a wide range of structures created by various teams. Some were triangular, some rectangular, and even some inverted. As several teams faced off against the pumpkin and failed, my partner and I grew excited that we may have a chance at winning. However, ours too fell to the seemingly Great Pumpkin. In fact, at the end, everyone’s creations were reduced to a Frankenstein-esque form of their original selves. Judges then picked the winner based on the decorations. Even though this second criteria was subjective, there clearly was one winner. One structure was donned with a mask of an exam-monster, which threatened ruined GPAs. With midterms past, but finals approaching, who wouldn’t have a fright at this sight? Even though no one was successful with the pumpkin challenge this time, innovation is about taking defeat in stride and being inspired by the events around us.

Winning Reflection - Ted Stewart-Hester

  • Nov 28th, 5:21am

    سیما تاب جنوب تولید کننده انواع مبلمان شهری در شهرستان دزفول آماده خدمات رسانی و ارائه محصولات برای تمامی شهر های کشور در مناطق شهری و صنعتی می باشد.
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