Skip to main content

Cordova Observation Tower: Longest Continuous Fiberglass Staircase in the World

The Cordova Tower is the tallest observation tower in a public park in the Midwest. The observation deck measures 106 feet tall. With 170 steps to reach the top it also features the longest continuous fiberglass staircase in the world.

Location
Cordova Park, Red Rock Lake, Marion County, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • How did the engineers build the staircase to the observation deck?
  • How did the engineers make the fiberglass staircase to be so sturdy?
  • Why did they choose to build the tower here?
  • Why did they choose to build the staircase with fiberglass instead of any other material?
  • Is the tower strong enough to survive the elements of Iowa? (high winds, rain, snow)

Classroom Suggestions

  • Lead students to understand a real life design challenge and how the engineers constructed the longest continuous fiberglass staircase in the world right here in Iowa!

Related Resources

Red Rock Area: Information regarding the Cordova Tower
Only in Your State: Photos and information about climbing to the top of the Cordova Tower

Iowa Core Alignment

Grade
6
7
8
Disciplinary Core Idea
ETS1: Engineering Design

Credit Info

Submitted by Miika Busick

Collaborate

Have you used this resource in your classroom? Do you have ideas for improvement? Share your ideas, experiences and feedback about this phenomena.


REAPCorporation for Public BroadcastingAlliant Energy