Ursula brought her husband, Jay, out to Frenchboro on her last guidance visit. Jay teaches business classes at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. He came out to do the Marshmallow Challenge with our kids. It's a challenge that has been given to people of all ages and has some wonderful lessons embedded within it as a jumping off point for great discussions afterward. The challenge is: Given 20 uncooked noodles, a yard of masking tape and string, scissors and a marshmallow, construct the tallest tower possible in 18 minutes. At the end, the marshmallow must be at the top of your structure.
It was a frenzy of activity for nearly the entire 18 minutes. There were impressive structures and lots of problem solving. Though nobody broke any records, we sure learned a lot about trial and error. The findings of this challenge have been that kindergarteners consistently score very high on this activity because they create prototypes throughout the process while adults often wait until the very end to put on the marshmallow and watch their structure collapse under the weight of pillowy sugar.
It was such a fun, interesting way to spend 18 minutes and Jay was particularly impressed that even when crunch time happened, there were no arguments and the kids were all positive and worked together as a team. There were no pointing of fingers and everyone listened to each other when they were sharing ideas.
One lesson we won't forget: a marshmallow is a lot heavier than it looks!