My Marshmallow Challenge

Today the second session of Learning Creative Learning will take place. I will be at my school’s professional development day, which happens to be focused on Design Thinking for Educators, so  will wind up watching the LCL session later this evening.

The final bit of pre-session prep was the The Marshmallow Challenge. I had seen the TED Talk awhile back, and immediately thought it would be interesting to do with a roomful of educators. Turns out that one of the second grade classes at my school did it this past fall!

The challenge specs for the MIT class are slightly different than the ones in the TED Talk, and I further changed them a bit for myself.

TED Talk specs: 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.

MIT specs: Spaghetti, tape, string, marshmallow – Build an interesting freestanding structure. The entire marshmallow must be on top. Time limit: 18 minutes. (It is presumed that the material quantities remain the same as for the TED Talk specs.)

Laurie’s specs: With 20 sticks of spaghetti and as many marshmallows as needed from one bag, build an interesting freestanding structure in 18 minutes. (Notice the difference in materials used.)

I did my challenge yesterday afternoon.

In early April, I will be giving a talk to parents (same talk twice, once in the morning and once in the evening) about STEAM at school. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math. The bulk of the talk with not be a talk! Rather, it will be learning and doing and playing, and you probably already know where I’m going with this…yes, they will be doing my version of the marshmallow challenge.


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