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ECS Part Time Year 2 Marshmallow Challenge!


The task was simple: in eighteen minutes, teams of Year 2 ECS part-time students had to build the tallest free-standing structure out of twenty sticks of spaghetti, one metre of string, one metre of masking tape and one marshmallow. 

As part of the ‘Children’s Learning Intentions’ module Dr Brenda McKay-Redmond felt that, “It was important to get teams into a creative frame of mind and to encourage them to think about what it takes to dramatically increase innovation and motivation.  The Marshmallow Challenge is a fun activity for all ages that engages all participants in problem solving and collaboration as teams try to build the largest free standing spaghetti structure”.

This activity has been widely conducted all over the world with different age groups.  The learning intention is the ability of participants to work in a cohesive team, to work interdependently and cooperatively and to accomplish their purpose and goal.  Communication, creativity, building trust, promoting a sense of ownership, and the encouragement of healthy risk taking were all contributing skills developed to improve motivation and productivity. There was the recognition and understanding of viewpoints with the appreciation of each other’s contribution.  Each team’s spirit was the key to their successful construction and the overall team’s winning effort topped out at 63cm tall!! This experience went from an ‘oh – oh’, to a ‘ta – da’ moment.

This has been an active learning, critical thinking and decision making fun module intention which ECS Year 2 students can recreate in various age-appropriate ways in their classrooms and work environments with the children in their care. It will be interesting to witness the results in their ECS environments as sometimes the younger we are, the more creative we are!

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