Students Tackle Design Challenges with Friends Across the World

By Sally Dugan, The Pingry School

Last spring, we began our Level Up Village (LUV) partnership with students at Nicaphoto in Nicaragua. Through LUV’s Global Storybook Engineers course, we worked on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities, combining literacy with engineering challenges.

First, we read the story Strega Nona, set in Calabria, a region in southern Italy which forms the “toe” of the boot. The problem in the story is that the town is about to be flooded by pasta! Our first design challenge was to IMAGINE what if Big Anthony caused the pasta to overflow again. How could we save the town? Then we made a PLAN. We pretended that we were architects and tried to design a tower that would stand tall and not fall down using marshmallows, spaghetti, masking tape, and string.