Spaghetti & Marshmallow Tower

Spaghetti & Marshmallow Tower

Short description
Full description
Short description

Spaghetti & Marshmallow Tower

Type of resource:  Weblink / Youtube Video

Web address


Language: English


Challenge: The basic idea of this activity is that a team is given a handful of supplies to work with — spaghetti, tape, and string — and 18 minutes to build the tallest possible tower that can support a marshmallow

Scientific concept introduced

Building through prototyping, iteration and finding alternative solution

Creative and critical thinking

Critical Thinking:
- Inference

Creative Thinking:
- Making

Mathematical reasoning

- Measuring

Scientific thinking

- Questioning
- Observing
- Exploring
- Recording
- Analysising
- Drawing conclusions

Learning how to learn

- Following guidelines
- Turn taking in groups

- Self-discipline and self-regulated learning


- Collaborative skills through group Work
- Hand-eye coordination
- Literacy - vocabulary development
- Cooking skills of stirring, kneading and mixing
- Oral language - listening and following instructions

Full description

Spaghetti & Marshmallow Tower

Overall aims

The basic idea of this challenge is that a team is given a handful of supplies to work with — spaghetti, tape, and string — and 18 minutes to build the tallest possible tower that can support a marshmallow.

It can be used with teams of different ages, starting from children 3-4 years old.

The main goal of conducting of Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge with young children is to explore the design process: thinking, doing, prototyping, and iteration.

Vocabulary - keywords should be understood

Spaghetti, building, prototyping, iteration, solution, triangles.

Expected learning outcomes (operational aims)

The children will be able to:

- develop a design mindset

- learn basic engineering principles (i.e. the importance of self-reinforcing triangles)

- understand the importance of prototyping

- work in team

- negotiate and solve problems in team

STEM skills - to which the learning unit is related to


Observing and making predictions

Building and tinkering

Creative thinking

Analyzing the results involved in the process of building the tower


Drawing conclusions

Teamwork skills:

- Taking common decisions

- Sharing ideas - negotiating meanings

- Sharing responsibility for a task

- Accepting leadership and management

- Following the safety rules and discipline


Hand-eye coordination

Fine-motor skills

Oral Language



Teaching methodologies/activity outline


1. Children have to be divided into teams of 4-5.

2. The have to build the Tallest Freestanding Structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier.

3. The entire Marshmallow Must be on Top: The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.

4. Use as Much or as Little of the Kit: The team can use as many or as few of the 20 spaghetti sticks, as much or as little of the string or tape.

5. Break up the Spaghetti, String or Tape: Teams are free to break the spaghetti, cut up the tape and string to create new structures.

6. The Challenge Lasts 18 minutes: Teams cannot hold on to the structure when the time runs out. Those touching or supporting the structure at the end of the exercise will be disqualified.

7. Team with the tallest structure with the marshmallow on the top will win a prize! Measurement is a vertical measurement from the table top up.

Questions to be asked

What has helped building the tower?

What has hindered the work of the team?

What was the biggest challenge?

What will you do differently next time you’ll do this experiment?

How do you evaluate your behavior during the challenge?

Assessment of learning


Equipment and materials to be used in learning unit (tools, ingredients etc)

For each group:

- 20 sticks of dry spaghetti

- one yard of string

- one yard of tape

- one marshmallow

- scissors

Kind of setting

No specific setting required. Each team needs a table o a stable plan to duild the tower.

References - source





Spaghetti & Marshmallow Tower

1. Usefulness for STEM education - integrating content of different disciplines

Cross-curricular character of the resource 


The range of S-T-E-M subjects included 


The presentation of possibilities of including artistic activities (STEAM approach)


2. Expected learning outcomes

Consistency (links) with preschool core curriculum


Communicativeness of description


3. Methodology of teaching

Clarity, communicativeness of instructions for teachers


Meaningful learning - using practical life problems


Original idea 


The level of ease in implementing the methodology to preschool age children


The level of ease in preparing necessary ingredients, materials and equipment needed


4. Sustainability

Ecological characteristics of materials/ results


Supporting healthy eating habits 


Low ecological footprint


Possibilities of inclusion (respecting cultural diversity and food intolerances)


5. Class management

Using differentiated forms of work - individual, team work etc.


Individual work





Team work





Whole group




6. Time management


Short activity (10-15 minutes)




Medium activity (20-30 minutes)




Long activity (1 hour or more)




Very long activity (1 day or more)


How useful was this resource?

Click on a smile to rate it! (You must be logged in)

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

How can we improve this resource? Share your experience with the community.

Please Login to comment
Skip to content