Thursday, December 12, 2013

Engineering for Girls- The Marshmallow Spaghetti Experiment

So have you heard of the marshmallow spaghetti experiment?
You must watch this 7 min Ted Talks video then.
After  hearing about this from a friend of mine who had tried it during his last year as an engineering student I knew I had to try it out with some Homeschoolers to see how they did. 

Finally a perfect opportunity came up and I tried this with our Homeschooled Girl Scout Troop.

12 girls broke into 3 teams of 4.
1 team of 5 moms (I wanted to see how they sized up against the kids)

 I broke them up into ages, as I read that the youngest  kids actually always do better at this. Most moms were confused at this point why I wasn't mixing up the ages so the older kids could help the younger ones. 

Here is how they did:
There was no parental help allowed at all!
Group one 5-6 year olds:     6 inches
After a lot of sitting and talking and all the moms thinking that there was noway anything productive was going to happen at this table. They Triumphed!!

Group two: 6-8 year olds:       0 inches
There as a lot of talking going on here, and a lot of ideas but no clear way to make it happen. They had some very unique ideas that they tried at first without much success. I think the problem in this group was there was no clear leader established and not much got done. They did try to make a teepee type structure but were unable to get it to stand up. Given more time I feel this team would have gotten a structure up with a marshmallow on top. There were some very unhappy girls at this table when I said time was up.

Group 8-9 year olds       0 inches
These girls had a slow start but were full of ideas just as time was up they had a pretty tall structure but it would not stand up.

Group Moms:                 20 inches
I have no idea what their thought process was but none had done this before and this is what they had in the end. Maybe it was the extra person that made all the difference.

This was a fun experiment and I enjoyed hearing all the thought processes going on, I am hoping to bring more team skill building activities into our monthly meetings to get these girls to think outside the box more.

Thank you Ray for telling me about this.

If you are interested in Engineering for girls I just came across this company and it  is now  on my daughters wish list for Christmas. 
Looking for more? Click link below.

      100 Awesome Engineering Projects for Kids

I am hoping to do more of these with my kids possibly our Girls Scouts as well.

Happy Homeschooling!

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