Building STEM Skills
Inspiring the Future
Developing 21st Century Skills
Say those words to your students and you’re sure to get a reaction. Who doesn’t want to have a little fun by designing and building a marshmallow slingshot? But this isn’t just a time-filler; it’s a great little STEM challenge for kids of all ages. Using some basic supplies, students can review the Engineering Design Process and embark in this design, build, test project.
Start with some basic supplies for each team:
- 2 toilet-paper tubes (or 1 paper-towel tube, cut in half)
- Single-hole punch (optional)
- Pencil pen or marker
- 2 thin rubber bands
- Marshmallow (Large)
Then, let the designing begin! Challenge your students to design and create a marshmallow launcher (slingshot, trebuchet, or whatever) that will meet your design requirements.
What are your design requirements? We’ve already outlined the required supplies (and you can modify these based on availability), so we just need to define the challenge. Should we design a launcher that:
- will launch a marshmallow the furthest? (distance)
- will hit a designated target? (accuracy)
- will keep the marshmallow aloft the longest? (time)
Or, work with students to design a challenge of your own. Whatever the challenge, students and teacher alike are sure to have an engaging STEM lesson.
For an inspirational video to introduce this lesson, visit the PBS Kids Design Squad page. (There are also detailed instructions for building a specific kind of launcher, but that takes the fun out of the challenge!)