High school math teachers; Cheryl Elmer, Sarah Campbell and Zach Darling began the school year with a Marshmallow Challenge in each of their respective Geometry sections. Students divided into teams and were given 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti and one yard each of tape and string. The teams were asked to create the tallest structure possible that could stand on its own and hold a large marshmallow on top.
The structures were measured from the floor to the top of the marshmallow. Teams were warned that they would be disqualified for reducing the weight of their marshmallow by eating a portion of it.
The activity required critical thinking, collaborative problem solving and an introductory knowledge of geometric shapes. "The best part of this activity is how students learn to interact with one another", said Elmer. Cheryl Elmer uses a number of strategies in her classroom to give students plenty of opportunities to develop strong peer-to-peer bonds. She believes developing these healthy relationships early in the school year helps students have the most successful high school experience possible.