The building of balsa wood towers provides a fun learning experience for high school and college students. Science teachers across the country often use this activity to challenge students' understanding of basic engineering concepts.
The low cost and light weight of balsa wood makes it an ideal material for use in physics and modeling projects. Many teachers make tower building a competition among students, giving students freedom of design with the goal of adhering to basic structural engineering principles. These projects test students' knowledge of such engineering concepts as compression and tensile strength as they explore a variety of structural shapes, including squares, polygons, and triangles.