The Peg Tower Challenge. A Team Building Activity Highlighting The Value of Rapid Prototyping


If you're looking for a quick warmer which gets teams working together, the peg tower challenge is for you. The challenge can also work effectively to show the value of rapid prototyping and quick testing of ideas; a mindset of an effective design thinker or entrepreneur.


Materials required:

Pegs (we used 50 pegs per group of 4 students).



By using this as a warmer for a few consecutive weekly classes, students can build on previous experience, as well as test the effectiveness of different design methods. You can choose whether students aim to build the tallest tower, or alternatively bridge a gap or hold a weight. There is no end to the different methods that students could test, but a few potentials are listed below:

Method 1: Students distribute the pegs evenly between the group members. They are given 5 minutes to build and test a range of ideas individually. The group then has 2 minutes to check out the different ideas tested before deciding on one idea (or a combination) to build. The group is then given 5 minutes to build their chosen design.

Method 2: Give students 5 minutes to sketch as many peg tower ideas as possible in their notebooks. Once time is up, students are given 30 seconds each to explain their ideas to their group. The group then decides on a final idea and has 5 minutes to build it.

Method 3: Students are given 5 minutes to brainstorm ideas together and discuss build methods and concepts. They are then given 5 minutes to build their concept.

The winning tower at 900mm high.

The winning tower at 900mm high.

After time is up and the winners are decided, have a quick discussion about what worked, what didn't and how they would attack the activity next time. Students finish the activity energised and ready for another class.

Tom Allen