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Spaghetti Towers Build Teamwork, Perseverance

Boxes of spaghetti and fruit snacks were all that scholars at Center Line Preparatory Academy needed to learn valuable lessons about teamwork and perseverance.
High School English Teacher Kierra James put scholars into groups with one task in mind: build the tallest tower. How the teams got there was up to each group.
The race to the summit of the tallest Leaning Tower of Pasta began with a planning phase. Groups mapped out the design and construction of their towers. Each student had input, which helped teams come together to communicate a single plan moving forward.

Groups had to go through a planning stage before constructing towers of pasta with the goal of creating the tallest structure.

Once the building process commenced, teams were able to see their strategies come to life, and plenty of them had to make changes on the fly. James said she noticed several groups actively collaborating once they realized their original plan wasn’t working.
“It was an amazing experience,” James said. “Everybody was engaged and excited. It was a fun competition.”
The biggest breakthrough for scholars wasn’t how high they could build their columns of carbs, but its themes of teamwork and perseverance stood out most.
James said every scholar had a role in their group. For some, it was serving as the group’s facilitator, making sure the team understood the directions and goals and kept their team on track. For others, they spoke to the entire class about their group’s tower and the process behind it.
Scholars also learned lessons about perseverance as they constructed their buildings of pasta. James said some of the scholars wanted to give up because their designs weren’t coming together, but they stuck with it and kept trying.
“Each group had 20 minutes to complete the project,” James said. “One group was struggling, but I praised them because with two minutes to go when it clearly wasn’t going their way, they kept trying and persevered to the end of the clock.”
The activity helped build class camaraderie and is one of James’ favorites all year.
“They had so much fun,” James said of her scholars. “They were all good sports about it. I didn’t have anybody get upset. Everybody had fun and laughed. I took one picture where I thought to myself ‘I have never seen him smile before.’”
Way to promote teamwork and perseverance, Center Line!

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About Center Line Preparatory Academy
Center Line Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Center Line, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through 12th grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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