We just finished up our latest round of, what we call, Build 'Em, Smash 'Em. We did this one back in the spring, and it was so much fun, we brought it back. Basically, teams of 2-4, are given a certain amount of set materials, some size parameters, and 90 minutes to design and build a structure using those materials and parameters. Then we smash 'em, by gradually adding sand to a bucket on top of the structure. The team whose structure holds the most weight before being crushed wins. If needed, pre-smashing height is the tie-breaker. Today's materials included hot glue, toothpicks, spaghetti, loose-leaf paper, and scotch tape. Materials change every time we do this one. We had 24 kids in 7 teams competing today. 2 teams' structures were DQ'd for not meeting the minimum height requirement. We smashed 'em anyway - why not? Of the teams remaining, first place went to DeAnne M., Maria O. and John Paul O. Second place went to Ameer Q., Cody P, and Riley F. Just watching this one is a lot of fun, since you get to see the very different approaches that different teams take. And, of course, when the weight is added, there's usually a surprise or two - either a great looking structure that collapses immediately, or a questionable looking one that turns out to be sturdier than it looked. Congratulations to everyone who competed. Look for this again in October.