The Marshmallow Tower in Ms. Mulcahy’s 4th Class

To begin our STEM journey this year, we started as engineers. We began our journey by working in groups to create a marshmallow tower. Before we began, we used this concept cartoon to stimulate some conversation. We all took a look at the picture and made predictions on what we thought this cartoon was all about. We came to the conclusion that it was to do with forces. A force is a push or a pull. A force always acts on an object. We spoke about two words in particular: tension and compression. We then decided which of the pictures represented tension and which one represented compression.

Next we spoke about teamwork. We used role cards to ensure everyone in our team had a job. We had a scribe, a team leader, an equipment manager and a checker. We spoke about what each of these jobs were. We then looked at the materials we were given for our design. Each group got 10 pieces of spaghetti, 1m of masking tape, 1m of string and a marshmallow. The aim of this STEM activity was to design and build a tower using the forces of tension and compression. The aim was to create a tower which held the marshmallow on the top. We spoke about fair testing and how all of the children had the same materials and the same amount of time to design and build the tower.

Each group had 7 minutes for the design process and then 18 minutes for the building. We had great fun and it was amazing how many new skills we practised as we were working as part of a team. This is our designs process.

The Design

This was the finished design. We reviewed what problems there were and how we fixed the problems. It was great fun!

Post Author: Kimberly Mulcahy