Marshmallow Madness

When I posted about the Marshmallow challenge, I had promised to post pictures. Now I can post pics from my old students and my new ones! It was a success again! It taught (most) of the students how to work together, and finishing with a writing prompt made it totally worthwhile!

It was a bit rough getting started for some…


Especially if it meant putting the cell phone down!

And sometimes there just wasn't enough room for more than a couple of hands (apparently)

There just wasn’t enough room for more than 2 pairs of hands, apparently.

But they seemed to have fun!

But they seemed to have fun!

Future members of SWE

Some more than others.

Some were a little ambitious...

And some were a little ambitious.

Maybe a lot ambitious...

Maybe too ambitious…

Really, really ambitious!

This group was very ambitious, and it would have worked if there had been no marshmallow.

Some were successful

Some were successful.


Even though they cheated…

It's a swing set! How cute.
It’s a swing set! How cute.

And some were definitely thinking outside of the box!

mm11Some just didn’t make it.

But overall, I think it was a success! And a lot of fun!

In case you were wondering how to do it, each group needs the following items:

  • 20 sticks of spaghetti
  • 1 yard of tape (masking tape works the best)
  • 1 yard of string (dental floss is a cheap but sturdy alternative)
  • 1 marshmallow
  • scissors

They have 20 minutes to build the tallest, free-standing (as in no hands or strings attached) structure to hold the marshmallow at the top. They can cut any of the materials they have, except the marshmallow. The marshmallow must be whole and not deformed as it sits on top of the structure!

I followed it up by having a discussion about the following and took notes on the board:

  • What skills did they use to create the tower? (Make sure to discuss teamwork, communication, and problem solving in this section)
  • Why were some more successful than others? (Great for math teachers because Triangles are key for support!)
  • What problems did they encounter as they were building? And how did they solve those problems?

Then we finish with some variation of this prompt:

Write an essay explaining how teamwork and problem solving affected the process of building the marshmallow tower. Provide details to support your answer.

Feel free to steal any part of this lesson. Since it’s my beginning of the year, get to know you and create camaraderie lesson, I haven’t actually looked up the TEKS (I really should do that…). Good luck to you!

*Pictures were modified to protect the identity of my students using the software at

*Original concept came from here.

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