Quiz: What Jenga Teaches Us About Structural Engineering
by Staff
Jenga is a simple game of wooden blocks and gravity, until you play against a structural engineer. Test your knowledge of the game and of the engineering principles that win it.

True or False: Jenga is based on an ancient game played for centuries in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

  • True
  • False

What does the word "Jenga" mean in Swahili?

  • build
  • fall down
  • crash

How many blocks come in the original Jenga set?

  • 48
  • 54
  • 60

What is the tallest Jenga tower achieved during regular game play (not towers made from multiple sets)?

  • 40.6 feet
  • 52.3 feet
  • 60 feet

True or False: There is a Nintendo Wii version of Jenga.

  • True
  • False

In structural engineering, what is the name of the downward force supported by walls and beams and ceilings in a building?

  • gravity
  • standing weight
  • load

What type of load describes the shifting forces created by people and furniture in a building?

  • dead load
  • live load
  • dynamic load

Which of the following is the most accurate definition of a dead load?

  • The static forces created by all of the structural elements of a building, like steel beams, rivets, windows and dry wall.
  • The load created by only the steel skeleton of a building
  • The combined force created during the collapse of a building

Which of the following is NOT an example of a dynamic load?

  • An earthquake
  • A plane crashing into the building
  • Foundation settling

What is a popular type of foundation when building a tall structure in loose or shifting soils?

  • slab on grade foundation
  • pile foundation
  • footings

Which of the following is NOT one of the central functions of a foundation?

  • To make room for a basement
  • To transfer and disperse load directly into the soil
  • To anchor the home to the earth

In structural engineering, what's the term that indicates the amount of force necessary to pull apart a type of construction material?

  • tensile strength
  • fail force
  • breaking point

True or False: It's impossible for the same structural element in a building to experience both tension and compression at the same time.

  • True
  • False

How much weight can a 10-centimeter diameter steel cable hold?

  • 5,000 pounds (2,268 pounds)
  • 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms)
  • More than 15,000 pounds (6,804 kilograms)

What is the name for the rotational force created when a lever arm is turned around a pivot or fulcrum?

  • moment
  • torque
  • All of the above

In structural enginering, which of the following statements is true?

  • The closer together the supports of a structure, the more stable the building.
  • The farther apart the supports of a structure, the more stable the building.
  • One support is always more stable than two supports.

True or False: It is against official Jenga rules to pinch together two blocks in the same row to form a single support.

  • True
  • False

A top-heavy structure is MORE or LESS stable than a bottom-heavy structure in an earthquake?

  • more stable
  • less stable
  • equally stable

In an earthquake, which types of vibrations are the most likely to cause a structural collapse?

  • Vertical (up and down) vibrations
  • Lateral (side to side) vibrations
  • Both

What is D'Alembert's Principle of inertial forces?

  • An object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
  • When an acceleration is applied to a mass, the mass opposes that acceleration in the opposite direction
  • A force applied to a mass will move the object an equivalent distance, minus friction