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!