Marshmallow Challenge


This activity involves several teams competing to assemble the tallest freestanding structure in a given time period with set materials.


  • One marshmallow kit per team which includes:
    • 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
    • One marshmallow
    • 1 meter of string
    • 1 meter of tape
  • Measuring tape


Group size:

Teams of 3-10 participants

Total approximate duration:

45 minutes

Instructions (for the participants):

  • Build the tallest freestanding structure as measured from the table surface to the top of the marshmallow. The structure may not be suspended from another structure (like a chair, the ceiling, or a chandelier)
  • The entire marshmallow must be on top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.
  • Use as many or as few of the supplies as your team chooses, with the exception of the marshmallow (which must be placed on top of the structure) and the paper bag (which may not be used as part of the structure). The paper bag includes 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow.
  • Teams may break the spaghetti and cut the tape and string as needed to create the structure.
  • Complete the challenge in 18 minutes. Teams may not hold the structure in place when the time stops. Touching or supporting the structure at the end of the exercise disqualifies the team.


Approximately 10 minutes

  • How did the team function?
  • What were your team’s strengths?
  • What were your team’s frustrations?
  • How can you apply what you learned from this challenge?
Things to keep in mind…
  • Walk around the room as the teams work.
  • Periodically announce the time remaining.
  • Announce the progress of the teams, building a friendly rivalry.
  • Remind teams that holding the structure disqualifies them.
  • After 18 minutes, measure each structure.

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