Squashed tomato STEM challenge

This Practical Action resource presents a fun hands-on and brains-on challenge for Key Stages Two to Five.

The problem: In Nepal many farmers living on the mountainside grow fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes. To earn a living they need to sell these at the local market. The problem is getting to market involves a long, dangerous walk down the mountain side and over a river, at the end of which the tomatoes may well be a bit squashed.

The challenge: To design, build and test a way of moving tomatoes that won't squash them!

The basic challenge is flexible enough to be adapted to any length up to a whole day challenge (for which you can gain a CREST in a day bronze certificate), but enhancement activities are suggested if you wish to develop it further.

The challenge can provide a focus for National Science and Engineering Week; be used as a STEM or science club activity; enhance a lesson on forces/friction/levers; form the basis of an enrichment day, provide an activity for SEAL and PLTS and be the starting point for a range of cross-curricular activities.

A wide range of support materials are provided including teacher’s notes, student information sheet, student worksheets, certificates for taking part, as well as links to videos and information on how it’s done in Nepal using a gravity ropeway.

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