The Marshmallow ChallengeClasses were divided into groups of 3 - 4 and tasked with building the tallest tower they could with the following supplies:
The rules were simple:
- Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure
- The Entire Marshmallow Must be on Top
- Use as Much or as Little of the Kit (which contained the supplies listed above).
- You May Break Up the Spaghetti, String or Tape
- The Challenge Lasts 18 Minutes
Before starting the challenge we discussed what were good strategies to use when working in groups. Then the students went at it!
The older students (grades 4s and 5s) were able to work well in their groups while some of the younger students did require more coaching / intervention. In most cases the students were able to resolve any conflicts and go on to work well as a group. I was proud of their ability to come up with solutions that worked for everyone in the group!
When the 18 minutes were up, some groups did not have a completed tower, others had a tower that looked great, but could not support the marshmallow (which is surprisingly heavy), while the remaining structures proudly held their marshmallows on top. The two tallest towers were both 61 cm tall -- one built in the Tuesday grade 5 class and the other in the Thursday grade 4 class.
Here are some of the towers:
After the activity we went over some of these slides and related the challenge to the process that inventors and others go through when solving problems.
Thank you to one of our parents, James' mother Christina, for mentioning this activity to me. It is described in this TED Talk.