Cover image: The Squashed Tomato Challenge (2020)


The Squashed Tomato Challenge (2020)

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Practical Action

A STEM Challenge where pupils design and build a model to move tomatoes down a mountain

Challenge your students to take on a real life  problem affecting people in Nepal. 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! Suitable for pupils aged 7-16.
The basic challenge is flexible enought to be adapted to any length up to a whole day, and there are also enhancement activities suggested if you wish to develop it further. This challenge is perfect to reinforce a lesson on forces or as a STEM club, transition or British Science Week activity.  It is accredited for the CREST award scheme and can be used as a project for the Big Bang Competition. The website includes teachers' and students' notes, a student worksheet, video clips and photos from Nepal and certificates of achievement. The following video clip shows students from Chichester High School trying out the challenge:

Resource contents


Environment and Sustainability, Industry and Economy, Media, Internet and Technology, Production and Consumption

Age Ranges

KS2: ages 7-11, KS3: ages 11-14, KS4: ages 14-16, KS5: ages 16+


Design and technology, Science

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