At-Home Engineering Challenge #2

Challenge 2 - Toothpick tower

No more than 20 tooth picks and
No more than 10 marshmallows

Construct the tallest tower you can.


-Height is the vertical span from the bottom of the lowest marshmallow to the top of the highest marshmallow.
-Tower must be free standing, resting on a flat surface and not supported anywhere but the lowest marshmallow(s) (no leaning against walls, no suspending your tower)

-You may only enter this challenge once; Multiple entries will be scored, with your worst score going towards your points total (No re-submissions, post edits, or post deletions!).

-Competition runs through 5pm Eastern on Sunday (April 5th).
-Please link pictures of your build (with measuring tape or ruler verifying measurement).
-Kids are encouraged to participate.

Points (pay attention, slightly different this week!)
You will earn:
1 point for every competition you participate in
1 point for making it easy to verify you followed the rules (this also means following the rules :slight_smile: )
3 points for besting my solution
2 points for an inventive step. To earn this, your solution must be different than the solutions posted before you and you must explain how it is inventive.
5 points for “best” solution. In this challenge, the tallest tower wins. In case of tie, earlier post wins.

All decisions final, don’t like my rules, run your own competition.

Prior challenge:

At-Home Engineering Challenge #1


Sam_J4409 - 10
Jacob_Banooni - 5
JKBear331 - 3
JimboFee - 2
UnofficialForth - 2
Lipstick - 2
PaytonB - 2
Brittan - 1


Example materials & example tower:

Note - please do not ask me what a toothpick or a marshmallow is. It should be obvious.


Are the restrictions on the length of a toothpick, and the volume of a marshmallow?


The only guidance I have to offer - has to be marketed as such, and a COTS solution. Please don’t fabricate your own plywood.


I’m about to end this man’s whole career

Both are COTS


Your hypothetical tower is very impressive. But it doesn’t exist!


I think I found a way to get the most innovative award, but the problem is it’ll take me over an hour to do just that part.

So do I just have to beat that height to be able to best your solution and earn 3 points?

1 Like

With 35 inch toothpicks, a 2x tetrahedral shell will easily reach over 57 inches, and a 1x tetrahedron atop a 2x1 triangular prism using 15 toothpicks will reach over 98 inches, even with ten tiny marshmallows which I don’t break. The toothpicks in my house are about 2-1/4*, so the combined length of 20 of them is only 45 inches.

Clearly, some ground rules about toothpick length and whether marshmallows can be broken are in order.

* I don’t have any marshmallows, and don’t plan to go to the grocery for a week.

1 Like

The example I posted is not my solution. I’ll post my solution on Sunday - do your best.

Well, do consider competing anyway. I’m not sure what a marshmallow analogue would be, but I would be open to considering alternatives. From the Kraft bag, normal sized marshmallows weigh approximately 7.25 grams each. They’re squishy, and made mostly of sugar.

Perhaps the total height to toothpick length ratio could be used? Then the toothpick length doesn’t really matter.

1 Like

For simplicity sake, I’m going to leave the rules as written. But you know, if anyone really wants to spend $29 per toothpick to win this particular challenge, go for it! The prize may be small but the bragging rights are forever.


But what if I have a really big marshmallow and split it into two smaller marshmallows? Is it still technically one marshmallow or is it however many separate pieces of marshmallow?

Imagine this is a class assignment, the teacher hands you 20 toothpicks and 10 marshmallows. Would you ask the same question? If you did, what would you expect the answer to be? I’d imagine my teacher would say to me, “Stop bugging me, figure it out!” :wink:


Could I get bonus points if I can make a tall structure using only one marshmallow?

As far as I’m concerned, as of right now, there’s been no solutions posted. But rather than ask if you’ll earn points for being inventive, you should do it! Keep in mind this is a “first to file” competition, so you’ve just given everyone else your idea. :slight_smile:

No I haven’t given people my idea. I can tell you if I were to pull my idea off, you’d be shocked.

1 Like

I can tell you that my idea would shock people even more. Don’t worry, it’s failing miserably right now.

1 Like

Hi. I don’t have marshmallows, so I did something that ended up partially driving me to insanity. I took a pair of scissors and split the ends open on the toothpicks so they would fit together without anything sticky. Thus, it is quite inventive (if I do say so myself).


That’s definitely inventive. It doesn’t take much imagination either to figure out what the height would’ve been had you possessed marshmallows! Well done, especially overcoming adversity!

1 Like