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Grade 5: Crushing it in Science

While all fifth graders learned about structural engineering, built balsa wood towers and tested their designs on Andy Dodge’s “Crusher of Dreams” machine for their crush tower unit, one student took the project a step further on his own time.
“Logan came home extremely excited about crush towers and wanted to build one with me and my dad, who's an architect,” explained Logan’s dad, Mark Lubischer. Mark goes on to explain that he is something of a balsa wood tower expert, having participated 30 years ago in an Odyssey of the Mind challenge that resulted in a tower that withstood over 900 pounds of pressure. His dad, Richard Lubischer, was his Odyssey coach. 
    
Mark and Logan spent time going over the slow-motion video from Logan’s crush tower’s demise on the Crusher of Dreams to determine the cause of failure and to evaluate different design concepts and structural design theory. Following their analysis, Mark, Logan and Richard jointly designed and built another crush tower at home using the same specifications Mr. Dodge assigned to fifth graders. 

When the three men put their 3G “three-generational” tower to the test on the Crusher of Dreams in front of Logan’s class of scientists, something unthinkable happened that had the students cheering. 

As Mr. Dodge continued to pump pressure on the Gadbury tower, he noted, “Not a sound. This one’s solid.” Then, their design “broke” the crushing machine. 

“It’s the first tower Mr. Dodge hasn’t been able to crush!” was how student scientists described the moment when the machine stopped calculating pounds of pressure around the 264 mark. 

In reality, the machine malfunctioned and after the infamous Crusher of Dreams is restored, Mr. Dodge will get his crushed tower after all. Exciting times in fifth-grade science!

Learn more about Master Teacher, Andy Dodge, here!
 
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.