I'm packing up two art rooms this year. Like, packing up everything in the art room. We have construction in one building so every speck of everything needs to be moved out by the last day of class and the other building is housing summer school so I need to clear all out of that room as well. Which means I have had to be creative on what I leave unpacked and what we are doing as the year counts down.
With 75 boxes packed in one room and no end in sight I decided to end the year with The Marshmallow Challenge. If you haven't heard about the Marshmallow Challenge you can get all the specifics here and you can even check out a great lesson plan here.
The gist of the challenge is that small groups work together to build the tallest, freestanding structure possible with a marshmallow balanced on top using all or some of the supplies provided; 20 uncooked spaghetti noodles, 1 yard of string, and 1 yard of masking tape in 18 minutes.
I put together kits of the above supplies in manilla envelopes and included 2 pair of scissors to make cutting the string easier. Students were not allowed to use the scissors or envelope as part of their structure. I did allow students to tape to the table though I'm not sure if that is allowed officially.
I'm keeping track of the tallest per class on a large poster outside the art rooms and snapping pictures of in progress structures and winners. The kids are getting into it and are enjoying the challenge and friendly competition. After the challenge is complete and measurements taken we have a short discussion.
I ask questions like:
● What would you have done differently the second time around?
● Did your group build a prototype first? Would that have helped or not?
● What kind of base did you use for your structure? What would make a good base?
● What about the supporting sides of the structure? What kind of shapes reinforce the
structure? What shapes do not?
It's been a nice culmination to the year and makes for nice teachable moments.
Anyone else tried this with students out there in cyber world ?
Our record is 27 inches so far.