Duration: 4 weeks



Downloadable Project Sheet

The “Marvelisk” Project

The goal of Marvelisk is to not only have the students create an obelisk, but also construct an engineering “marvel” that will raise it. The students will take on Ancient Egyptian challenges with intense Pharaoh-city.

Scope of Work

Every team of two (2) students will create a reinforced concrete obelisk and then design & build a system to stand it up on its base. The teams will also take part in a “Raise to the Finish” competition.

The following materials & tools will be provided:
-- Cardboard & Box cutters
-- Masking Tape
-- Concrete & Rocks
-- Masonry Tools
-- 2 foot 3/8" Rebar
-- Wood Sheet
-- Double-Headed Nails and Hammers
-- Glue
-- Rope NEW!



Obelisk Sketches
Cardboard Model & Wooden Mold
Small-scale Obelisk
System Design & Build
Raise to the Finish

Master Action Plan

Digital Portfolio


The Obelisk Sketches must:
-- Be hand- or computer-drawn
-- Be scaled from an approved existing Ancient or Modern obelisk
-- Have actual dimensions of full-scale obelisk (include scale value, surface area and volume)
-- Have detailed views with necessary measurements for construction
-- Be scanned/saved as JPEG files
-- Include picture of Full-scale Ancient or Modern obelisk NEW!

The Cardboard Model & Wooden Mold must:
-- Have all four (4) walls and top & bottom ends
-- Be easily assembled & disassembled
-- Be photographed & saved as JPEG files
-- Note: The cardboard model should fit in the wooden mold

The Small-scale Obelisk must:
-- Be made of concrete and rock
-- Be reinforced with rebar
-- Have the team name in Egyptian hieroglyphs
-- Be photographed & saved as JPEG files
-- Exceeding Expectations: Create an attachable pyramid top

The System Design & Build must:
-- Digitally illustrate the method of raising the obelisk
-- Highlight all the necessary Ancient equipment to be used
-- Estimate and document manpower needed
-- Be scalable
-- Be photographed & saved as JPEG files
-- Exceeding Expectations: Create a hand-free system NEW!

The Raise to the Finish competition gives the teams three (3) attempts to quickly raise and place the obelisk precisely on a foundation square, which is the exact size of their respective obelisk base. All attempts start with the obelisk laying flat with the base aligned with one side of the foundation square. The use of a Turning Groove Platform is acceptable. NEW!
Failed attempts involve:
-- Moving the obelisk after completely standing it on the foundation square
-- Placing the obelisk base outside the foundation square

The Master Action Plan must:
-- Have ALL detailed items for the successful completion of the project
-- Reflect weekly benchmarks via the dates
-- Have team member assignments

The Work In Progress (WIP) Meetings & Emails must:
-- Have an up-to-date Master Action Plan PRINTED/ATTACHED
-- Establish completion of Weekly Benchmarks
-- Express via email or during private meetings regarding WIP problems with partnerships

The following benchmarks are to be completed by the end of the respective week.

Understanding of Proposal & Initial Master Action Plan, Choose Obelisk
Complete Obelisk Sketches, Cardboard Model, & System Design Draft
Complete Wooden Mold, Small-scale Obelisk, and System Design Finalized
Build, Test, and Revise System Design & Build
Finalize System Design & Build; Raise to the Finish; DP Peer Review

The Digital Portfolio must:
-- Include the Location, History, & Description of the Ancient or Modern Obelisk
-- Explain the process step by step supporting images, links, and text
-- Post the required images
-- Have working hyperlink to the Final Master Action Plan
-- Have a reflection covering "what went well, what could you do better, & what did you learn about yourself" in regards to the project itself, the results of the competition, AND the partnership


Grading Criteria

Downloadable Scoring Sheet

The students will be working in teams of two (2), but they will each receive an individual grade. The varying weights for the following criteria will determine their overall score.
-- Thoughtfulness & Thoroughness
-- Work Ethic & Behavior
-- Deadlines & Deliverables
-- Exceeding Expectations


By participating in Marvelisk, the students are agreeing to all the safety issues discussed in class, when authorized tools are in use.

Additional Info

Obelisks from Wikipedia
NOVA Online: Pharoah's Obelisk
How Many CalTechers?
Write Like An Egyptian
PBS Materials Lab
Stability and Simple Trusses
Volume of an Obelisk
Vatican Obelisk
Obelisks of the World
Sample System Design
This Man Can Move Anything NEW!
Why Does Cement Set? NEW!
Fact Monster: Concrete NEW!
Teacher's Guide Concrete Preparation NEW!
Resistive Force of Friction NEW!
Simple Machines NEW!

Student Work

Work In Progress [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


© Copyright 2004 Alfred Solis. All Rights Reserved.