The Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge: Science Experiment

The Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge: Science Experiment
The Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge: Science Experiment
The Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge: Science Experiment
The Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge: Science Experiment
Grade Levels
File Type

Rich Text Format

(5 MB|2 pages)
Product Rating
Standards
NGSSMS-PS2-5
NGSSMS-PS2-2
NGSS3-5-ETS1-3
NGSSMS-ETS1-2
  • Product Description
  • StandardsNEW

The Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge is a science experiment designed to test students' creativity and knowledge relating to force and motion (as well as the Scientific Method and data collection).

You will give your students a variety of items used to create a mini marshmallow launching catapult. The items you provide them with can vary. I provide my students with 2 bowls, 2 spoons, masking tape, 2 coffee stirrers, 2 large rubber bands, 2 small rubber bands, 2 paperclips, and 2 larger straws. I provide them with double of each item so they have an extra in case they break one. You can change up these items, or limit the students to only certain ones.

The students will be placed into groups of 3 or 4 depending on class sizes. They will be given these items and the Great Marshmallow Launcher Challenge experiment sheet. I DO NOT assist my students at all. They have to collaborate in their group and work together to create their catapult. They are also NOT given a marshmallow to test the catapult with; so they will complete their experiment BLIND, based on their catapult's design only.

After all groups have created their catapults, I tape the catapults onto desks (or tables). Each group will then take turns launching their catapults. They will get two marshmallows to launch; they get to use the data from whichever marshmallow goes the farthest. I measure the distance using yard sticks or a tape measure, whichever I have available.

My students have absolutely loved this activity, every year I have used it. They stand around in lines, watching each group launch their marshmallows. The excitement they have for this experiment honestly blew me away the first time I did it. I have incorporated it every year since.

To extend this activity further into science or even into math, a graph could be incorporated, as well as Mean, Median, Mode, and Range.

Your students will LOVE this!

Log in to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
NGSSMS-PS2-5
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations. Assessment is limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.
NGSSMS-PS2-2
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object. Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units. Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame, and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.
NGSS3-5-ETS1-3
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
NGSSMS-ETS1-2
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Total Pages
2 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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