Marshmallow Tower Competition

Students at a local elementary school recently participated in an engineering workshop to learn about structures. Lesson number one: “Engineers don’t eat the materials.” Instead, the materials — namely marshmallows — are used to build towers.

Students compete for the tallest structure using marshmallows and toothpicks, plus a little engineering know-how.

I volunteer for a program called Engineer-in-Residence. The EIR is an innovative, volunteer-based program dedicated to inspiring young people in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The EIR program is offered free of charge to schools across Ontario. Click here to learn more about the EIR.

For the marshmallow workshop, the only constraints are time and real estate. Students are given 20 minutes to build a stable tower within a 15cm x 15cm square footprint. This year, the winning team hit a new record: 37 cm tall.

This is my third year volunteering, and it’s gratifying to watch the students work together and accomplish something. I give them some tips before hand, like how structural engineers love triangles. Then the children break into teams and build.

Teachers get involved too and I’m grateful for their help and for their enthusiasm.

Great job everyone,