Marshmallow Physics

You Want Us to Do What?!?!

Among students at my school, I am famous for making them build bridges out of popsicle sticks. [Or infamous… however you want to look at it.] Then we break the bridges by hanging free weights to see how strong they are.

So when I recently told my students that we would be building more bridges, I got eye rolls so big that eyeballs nearly rolled right out of their sockets. I heard Do we hafta? way more than once or twice.

When I pulled out the supplies, a magical glow quickly filled the room and immediately, seventh graders become eerily quiet. But let’s get real… that only lasted for about one breath. Then… raucous joy.

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Yes. We are going to build bridges out of marshmallows and toothpicks.

The Next Question

It did not take long for students to jump into the crazy idea. And the very next question was:

How many can we eat?

Quickly followed by:

Can we eat them all after we’re done?

Of course, I said. [Inside, I was secretly grossing out. Eat them? After all your grubby hands have been smushing them all over? Not me. If you want to, go right ahead.] You know… sometimes it’s just better to do whatever makes these kids happy.

So, we built bridges. Nothing spectacularly earth-shattering. Nothing that we bronzed to send to MIT or Stanford. Just some fun, sticky design thinking. And laughing. And playing. And making school a pretty neat place to be.

This DT project was just about inspiring kids to learn.

Mission accomplished.

#DT rules!

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