Marshmallow Metropolis Engineering

Our STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics challenge - was to build a tower using only toothpicks and mini marshmallows.  

Challenge

Make a tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks.

This is an Engineering challenge.  Engineering is all about trying to figure out how to build something to the specifications and creative problem-solving.  Our specification is that we need to build a tower using only toothpicks and marshmallows.

What we did

We had a look at some photos of some marshmallow and toothpick towers to get some ideas.  We discussed the shapes we could build e.g. circle, square, triangle, hexagon and whether they would be strong.  We also had some longer toothpicks available to us if we thought they would help support our towers. We all got a container of toothpicks and marshmallows. Then we were off to experiment and construct.  

Of course, the most important instruction was not to eat the marshmallows until we had built our tower and taken a photo of it on Seesaw.  At the end, we could deconstruct (this is the opposite of construct) our tower and finally eat those delicious marshmallows.

What did we find out?

Perseverance became a keyword. Our towers did not always work the first time. But persevering, making adjustments to our design and asking a buddy to help us all were successful strategies.

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Check out those cross supports in Stacys design

Daniel and Stacy found they needed cross supports to make their square shapes stronger.  They used the longer toothpicks to make this cross supports.

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Wow Hope what a great tower

Hope found that working with smaller shapes made her tower stronger.

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Hope is looking pretty pleased with her tower

Maxwell had a clever plan to build a flat cube of toothpicks and then make it into a three-dimensional shape. He persevered and used a buddy for another set of hands.

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Finally, Maxwells design has worked time to record on Seesaw

Macey worked with the triangle shape to build her tower.  

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Macey found using triangle shapes worked well

Maddox and Hunter decided working together on one tower was more effective than working on their own.

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Teamwork Maddox is balancing the tower while Hunter builds

It was difficult and my tower kept falling over.  Eden

My first tower was tricky so I pulled it apart and started again.  Emma D

I found using the long toothpicks made my tower more stable.  Daniel

I found it hard to make my tower balance.  The best bit was putting my tower on Seesaw.  Lachlan

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Lachlan had the idea of side supports at each corner

I made a ninja tower. Liam

The best bit about building towers was that you got to eat the marshmallows at the end. Arkayzhia

I liked eating the marshmallows.  Maxwell

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A lot of thinking is going on here

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Concentration is the name of the game

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Getting started on their towers

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Lots of different ideas here baout the design of their towers

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Success my tower is standing up

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Te Omeka has created a structure

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Tori building square and triangle shapes for her tower

Keywords: Marshmallows, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, problem-solving, perseverance, specifications

Getting started on their towers2