To kick off the Brown Bag STEM Challenge, is the Marshmallow Tower. This simple project is a great way to focus on team-building as students must work together to build a tower…out of spaghetti (and a marshmallow)!
Materials (per team):
- 1- large marshmallow
- 1- yard of masking tape
- 1- yard of string or yarn
- 20- sticks of raw spaghetti
In addition, the teacher will need a stopwatch and a measuring tape.
Prepare a brown bag for each team containing the required supplies. Brown bags help to hide the materials students will use and also provide a bit of suspense! Tell students they will be building the tallest structure that they can using the materials in the bag. Work with students to determine the rules for measuring and determining which structure is the tallest.
Working in teams of 4-5, students work for 20 minutes to build the tallest free-standing tower possible with the entire marshmallow on top. Teams may work together, divide the work, assign tasks, etc. Students may break the spaghetti and/or the tape and may use as much or as little of the materials as they need.
Then, bring students together to measure the structures. If time permits, students may review the Engineering Design Process and redesign their structures based on the data they gathered while structures were being measured.
So, what did we learn? National Science Standards: strength of structures, scientific inquiry, applying the design process, force and motion, abilities of technological design. Other Skills: Team-building, cooperative learning, decision making