Marshmallow Challenge


STEM Learning Activities – Marshmallow Challenge

Build the tallest free-standing structure in just 18 minutes using no more than 20 sticks of spaghetti, 300mm of tape, 300mm of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow must be on top and cannot be deformed to hold it in place. The structure has to stand firmly on its own; it cannot be propped up, held, or suspended from the ceiling.



Marshmallow Challenge Instructions 160 KB
The following instructions have been adapted from commonly used materials for the Marshmallow Challenge. In these instruction we use metric measurements but still remain true to the challenge in order to compare results.
The Marshmallow Challenge Slides Tom Wujec 10 MB
Original slide notes for the Marshmallow Challenge produced by Tom Wujec from Autodesk as appearing in his TED talk.


Tom Wujec from Autodesk presents some surprisingly deep research into the "marshmallow problem" -- a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?
Tom Wujec's "Marshmallow Challenge" is a design experiment that reveals deep lessons about teamwork, collaboration and project management. It sounds simple - teams try to build the tallest freestanding structure they can out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and a marshmallow. What makes it difficult is the need for teams to organize, prototype and build the structure in the short time frame. The results are astounding - children tend to outperform MBA students, due to their ability to redesign on the fly rather than plan a rigid structure and execute, even if the structure is doomed for failure.