Materials (per group of 2-4 students):
- 20 – sticks of uncooked spaghetti
- 1 – yard masking tape
- 1 – yard string
- (scissors for cutting the string)
- 1 – marshmallow
- a large digital timer that counts down (You can use your computer – download a free timer application for windows or mac.)
- tape measure
(I recommend first watching the TED Talk video at www.marshmallow challenge.com to familiarize yourself with this activity.)
1. Have students work in groups of 3 if possible (groups of 2 or 4 will also work), around flat tables or desks.
2. Give directions and repeat them a couple of times so that everyone understands what to do:
Students will have 18 minutes to work in their groups to build the tallest freestanding structure possible, using only the materials provided. (The structure will be measured to the top of the marshmallow, so the marshmallow should be at the highest point of the structure!)
3. Start the timer and give warnings at 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds. Then count down the final 10 seconds together.
4. When the time is up, measure all structures that are standing, from lowest to highest. (Structures may not be taped down and must stand on their own, without students holding them up!)
5. The team with the tallest freestanding structure gets a standing ovation! (Interesting side note: I was surprised to discover that only one student in my entire K-6 school knew what a standing ovation was!)
I love this. I am trying to get my teachers to do more collaborative work with their students and I think this is a great way to illustrate how effective it can be. Thank you for posting!
This is a great activity I do with my students to get them familiar with one another and work together. Thanks!