STEAM in Action: Upper School Students Tackle Pringles and Pencil Challenges 

It’s not often that students are actually encouraged to play with their food, unless they are attempting the Pringles Ring Challenge. The task: construct a complete ring using only Pringles potato chips – using no glue, tape, or other materials.

SNS 7th and 8th graders watched a brief video on this project and then planned their chip ring design. They were asked to think through how the base of the ring would support the top, whether to layer the chips in a certain pattern, and what other strategies to try if the first design didn’t work.

Working through this engineering challenge, students learned that as the sides of the ring get taller, gravity pushes down on the chips, and in order for the chips not to slide there must be enough frictional force on the sides of the chips.

The reward for completing the challenge: getting to eat the Pringles!

SNS 5th graders enjoyed tackling the Pencil Challenge. The objective: Using only pencils, build a freestanding structure as tall as possible. Working in teams, the students brainstormed, experimented with different designs, and built towers – and then combined towers to create even taller structures.

“It was exciting to see the students’ persistence and determination,” says Mrs. Diane Brown, Upper School Science Teacher. “STEAM challenges help students learn to think outside the box and collaborate to solve challenges.

These children are preparing to be our future scientists, architects, designers, doctors, researchers, engineers, as well as roles that might not even exist yet!”