High school students from 13 Iowa towns will take part in an unusual tower-building competition today. The group of nearly 300 students will be creating their structures in a simultaneous contest, while watching each other from hundreds of miles away.Pam Reinig is a spokesperson for the Iowa State University College of Engineering, which is sponsoring the 4th annual contest. All of the schools will be linked via the fiber-optics system called the Iowa Communications Network. This is National Engineers’ Week. Reinig says the students will only use two building materials for their towers — uncooked spaghetti noodles and gumdrops.The 300 contestants from 13 schools are formed into 65 teams. They all will have 18 minutes to build their towers, starting around 2 p-m. Reinig says many of the students will NOT go on to become engineers, but they will develop an appreciation for some of the principles used in the engineering field.The winning tower last year measured 216 centimeters high — that’s about seven feet. Schools taking part are: Ames, Cedar Falls, Davenport West, Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Wahlert, Fort Madison, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Madrid, Marion, Muscatine, Des Moines Roosevelt, Sioux City West and Waterloo West.
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