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Marshmallow Challenge 1

Taryn Notman

The Marshmallow Challenge

Materials and Structures

Unit: Physical Science Materials and Structures

Grade Level: Three
Time Estimated for Lesson: 50 Minutes (this allows for a
little extra time if needed)
Introduction: 10 minutes
Activity: 20 minutes
Reflection/Observation Sheet: 10 minutes
Closure: 10 minutes
For students to work with their peers in the construction
of a tower

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For students to understand some shapes are stronger

than others
For students to compare their models to their peers, in
only a constructive critical manner
For students to make adjustments in their model
To describe their observations and describe what
worked and what didnt
To explain what they could have done differently
Outcomes Facilitated
100-34, 101-11
o Describe, evaluate, and investigate common
materials, their suitability for use in building
structures and ways to join materials together
o Identify problems to be solved while creating
200-5, 203-3
o Identify materials that could be used to solve the
problem posed and suggest a plan for how they
will be used through oral, written, and/or
illustrated responses.
o Manipulate materials and respond to the ideas of
others to make changes in creating structures as
deemed necessary
Materials Needed: Per group of 3-4 students
20 pieces of spaghetti (regular)
1 yard tape
1 yard string (String should be easily broken or would
need scissors) 1 marshmallow

Measuring tape

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Stop Watch (You could watch the clock, only for the
Science Literacy Focus
The lesson plan will incorporate both problem solving and
decision-making. As a team they will have to use their
imagination to come up with creative ideas on how to build
their towers. They will learn to work together as well as to
try different solutions in order to achieve a goal. Students
will get hands on experience trying to build a stable
structure. They will begin to learn about prototyping, about
rapid trial and error.
In this lesson students will work together in groups to build a
tower only using the materials provided. They will be
challenged while working as a team to build the tallest
tower. They will have a limited time to build their tower and
each student will use the same material. Before they begin
there will be a class discussion on building materials and
their everyday use. At the end of the lesson students will
have a better understanding of how weak materials can be
efficient if used in a certain way. With their reflections theyll
begin to see there are different ways to use same materials.
Explain that the students will only have 20 minutes to plan
and build their tower. At the end of the time students must
immediately stop building. Their tower must stand by itself
without being touched and the entire marshmallow must be
on the very top. The students can use as much or as little of
the materials as theyd like but cannot use more than they
were given. They can use the materials however they would
like (break the spaghetti, break string, etc). Then the
students will begin and the clock will start, (set for 20
minutes). Once the timer stops the teacher will measure the

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towers to see who had the tallest tower. Then have the
students do their reflection/observation sheets.
Productive questions
1. What did you learn?
2. What went wrong?

What parts of your tower worked well?

What did you like?
What shapes worked well in the structure?
Does the marshmallow being on top effect the strength
of the tower?
7. Could you build a stronger tower with more of the same
8. What other materials would have been helpful?
The students will go around the room and look at the
towers of their classmates.
Have a class discussion, (using the questions above)
have students examine what they observed and what
they learned.
Discuss how many different ways they tried to use their
materials. (Trial and Error)
Have the students discuss what was difficult about
building their tower and what would have made it
Discuss in ways this could relate to real life buildings.
Assessment Strategies
Make note if all students participated in the activity

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How they reflected on their towers, and observed what

could be improved. Their strengths and weaknesses.
Observe how students worked within their groups to
develop different and creative ideas to build their
Whether they demonstrated an understanding of what
materials worked and didnt work. (200-5;203-3)
If they knew what materials would work better
Whether they grasped the concept of trial and error.
Did the students attempt different methods when it
didnt work the first time? (201-2;203-5)
If they could make connections to real life.
Working together as a team and solving problems that
arise while building.
That some materials are better to use than others.
Prototyping, how trial and error are necessary in the
construction of a building.
Have students work with smaller groups or larger
Have a student with special needs with another student
to write for them or maybe have them draw depending
on the situation
Assess some students differently than others,
depending on the special need of the student (base
assessment on their drawing rather than their write up
or vice versa)

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Would have to change activity if there were allergies in

the classroom
Could try assigning roles for each group member
Let them try again in their next class after theyve had
time to observe and discuss what theyve learned.
Tell them they could try at home with their families and
see if there are different results.
Give them an opportunity to build a tower using
different materials.
Have them observe the world around them, on their
way home look at the different structures and discuss
next class.

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The Marshmallow Challenge


Name: _______________
Date: ________________

Draw a picture of your Tower

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What did you learn? ______________________


What materials worked well? ________________


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What materials didnt work well? ____________

What did you observe from the other towers?
What materials would you like to try and why?

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