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This is a team design challenge that makes a great back-to-school activity for students. Students make a structure out of spaghetti and tape that is sturdy enough to support a marshmallow. They compete to see which team can design the tallest structure. (grades 6-12)
Everything in this packet was adapted from Tom Wujec’s Marshmallow Challenge for an 8th grade Language Arts classroom. Students follow up the challenge with a writing or a speaking activity, based on your preferences.
1. Arrange your desks: Clusters work best, giving students enough space to work.
2. Stuff your kits: Put 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti and student instructions (half-sheet – pg. 2 of this document) into brown paper bags. Each cluster also gets a yard of masking tape. **I suggest keeping the marshmallows until close to the end of the challenge so that students do not throw them or eat them.**
3. Photocopy handouts. Each student should receive a reflection handout – either the writing (pg. 3) or speaking (pg. 4) version.
This activity works well for EC, LEP, and low-performing groups as well as highly-gifted students. I use this in a STEM school, but you could use it in any setting.
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