The Marshmallow Challenge
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Divide students into groups of three to five. Give each group 20 strands of spaghetti, one meter of string, one meter of masking tape, and one large marshmallow. Their challenge is to build the tallest free-standing structure that will support the marshmallow in 30 minutes. The height of each structure will be measured from the table surface to the base of the marshmallow.
This activity can be varied to focus on many different aspects: collaboration, prototyping, iterative design, testing, etc.