In the Marshmallow STEM Challenge, Mrs. Wukitch’s Lincoln and Macungie students in all grade levels collaborated in small groups to build the tallest free-standing structure in just 18 minutes using no more than 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needed to be on top which metaphorically represented the hidden assumptions of a project. The assumption in the Marshmallow Challenge is that marshmallows are light and fluffy and easily supported by the spaghetti sticks. When you actually try to build the structure, the marshmallows don’t seem so light. The lesson in the marshmallow challenge is that we need to identify the assumptions in our project – the real customer needs, the cost of the product, the duration of the service – and test them early and often. That’s the mechanism that leads to effective innovation.
Pictured: Dynamic duo of 3rd graders who built the tallest tower measuring in at 19 inches. Great critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills were demonstrated by all!