STEM Friday: Marshmallow Challenge

This Week’s Challenge

The marshmallow challenge, sometimes called the spaghetti tower challenge, is quite popular. The task is simple, yet teaches a profound lesson and requires lots of teamwork: “in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.” (http://marshmallowchallenge.com/Welcome.html)

Materials (per team)

  1. 20 sticks of spaghetti
  2. 1 yard of tape
  3. 1 yard of string
  4. 1 marshmallow
  5. 1 pair of scissors

Rules

  1. Build the tallest, freestanding (must stand on its own) structure
  2. The marshmallow must be on top of the tower
  3. You do not need to use all of the supplies
  4. You are free to break up the spaghetti, string, and tape
  5. You will not be given extra supplies
  6. You will have exactly 18 minutes
  7. After the 18 mins. are up, the tower must stand on its own to be measured
  8. The team with the tallest tower wins

What a challenge!  Teams worked really hard to build a tower that would stand on its own.  Eventually, however, most teams gave up.  This is only the beginning of the year and our second STEM activity.  I hope through doing these, students learn not only how to think critically and creatively, but also how to work cooperatively and not have a “giving up” attitude.

In the end, Southern Ocean had the only standing tower at a height of 8 inches.  They did a great job working together and building a structure strong enough to hold the marshmallow.  I loved their use of the string to hold it all together!

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Great job, friends!

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