Build A Marshmallow Tower – Engineering
Simple and Fun Lessons on Engineering for Elementary Students
Today we are beginning some hands-on lessons to introduce T to engineering. We are starting slow with this very simple marshmallow/toothpick tower and will move into more difficult problem solving with more advanced goals but you have to start somewhere. We are starting with a few simple goals:
- Recognizing shape strengths
- Problem-solving with only the items assigned
- Have a lot of fun and build a super cool marshmallow tower
This is new so first things first. Let’s see how the Bing Dictionary defines Engineering for us:
- application of science to designing things: the application of science in the design, planning, construction, and maintenance of buildings, machines, and other manufactured things
- profession involving technical designing: a branch of engineering pursued as a profession, e.g. civil engineering or electronic engineering
- contrivance: the planning or bringing about of something, especially when done with ingenuity or secretiveness
We are also going to look over this list of: Top 10 Most Impressive Engineering Projects from Engineering Daily. Here we will see that engineers are behind totally cool and awe-inspiring things such as the Moon Landing, The Hoover Dam, The Pyramids of Giza and more.
Finally, T is a huge Guinness Book of World Records Fan so we are going to watch this YouTube Video of World Record Engineering Marvels and get oh so inspired!
OK now that we have the idea we are going in to dig in.
To cover shape strength, we discuss which shapes we assume are the strongest and then we watch this video.
Then we are going to watch this to see how it has been done before with this Time Lapse Video
And now we are ready. Let’s see what he can do!
- Mini Marshmallows
- A base of some form to build on so that you can turn it easily.
Step 1 - He builds a base and he doesn't skimp on the marshmallows!
We discuss moving upwards. Our goal is to reach 5 inches.
He reaches 5 inches but goes for a few more.
I have now been asked to leave the table for eating too many marshmallows. LOL, I couldn't help it. His final measurement comes in at 7 inches tall. He had fun and stayed with it! We learned that we do need those super strong triangles to prevent tower collapse. We were amazed at the Engineering Feats we watched in the videos and we are officially ready to progress to the larger marshmallows and spaghetti noodles for our next challenge. We have also developed a strong urge to make smores.
Let us know if you have ever built your own marshmallow tower. Have any tips? Share away. We love to hear from you!