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The Marshmallow Challenge!


My students are working hard to learn the DEAL design process within our forces and motion unit. As a STEM middle school, we focus on teaching kids the engineering design process in all classes! Below is a picture of our take on the design process:

 

My classes completed the marshmallow challenge a few weeks ago to explore the DEAL process. This lesson was modeled around the TED Talk about this challenge. The basics of the challenge are as follows: you have 18 minutes to create the tallest free-standing tower you can with 20 pieces of spaghetti, one yard of string, one yard of tape, and a marshmallow. The marshmallow has to be at the very top of the tower.

This team was successful round one!

In our class, we performed the challenge one day, took a second day to look at our first design and brainstorm to create many prototypes, then on a third day completed the challenge again. We then looked back and identified our problem areas as well as our improvements from the first day to the third. We talked about how the DEAL process helps scientists in their everyday lives, and how we are going to use it to become great problem-solvers in our science class!

We are currently applying the DEAL process as we create cars powered by a mousetrap as our culminating project for our Forces and Motion unit. Look for a new post with pictures after we complete this project!

Here are some pictures of my students working diligently to create their towers.

Students tried all kinds of shapes to see which would be the most stable!

Students used structures they saw from the video to guide their second attempt!

Students used their brainstorming from the previous day to guide their 2nd attempt!

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