I have done this activity many times. I love the way JPL lays out all the information for success with this project. Useful, well thought out questions for students. Great idea to distribute materials in sacks so that they are hidden until it's time to start. This process was meant for students to work in groups and compete against each other which helps drive excitement and can also put pressure on the group dynamic and sometimes leads to arguments and group dysfunction. I think it would be interesting to see how different this activity would be at home versus the classroom. If your student cannot work in a group or pair I would suggest putting a height goal in place, maybe even starting small like 2 feet, then have them try again for 3 feet , then 4. I would definitely recommend this for an introduction to the engineering process.