The Marshmallow Challenge!!

First off, have I mentioned how much I love TED Talks? Because I do!

For those of you unfamiliar with TED Talks, essentially what happens is a bunch of awesome people come together in a conference setting to discuss awesome things! Seriously. A whole bunch of awesome going on. Chances are if you’re interested in it, there’s probably a TED Talk about it.

But I digress!

Today in my LIS foundations class we discussed management and team building strategies using… The Marshmallow Challenge!! My classmates and I were instructed to build the tallest stand alone structure using a handful of spaghetti, tape, some string, and a marshmallow (which must be placed at the top).

We were separated into groups of 3 and given 8 minutes (10 minutes short of the actual allotted time) to complete this task.

This was my moment. I jockeyed for power.

I quickly announced to my group that we must first reinforce the spaghetti, and got to work securing the noodles together with the tape. As time ticked away, it became apparent that a tepee would be the most effective structure to build. With that in mind and time running out, we worked fast and fluidly connecting the three bushels together before stabbing our marshmallow with some remaining spaghetti and delicately inserting it into the top of our tepee. Done.



The project had concluded and my group was the only one that had successfully completed the marshmallow challenge. In fact, our structure remained intact until we physically disassembled it at the end of class.

Anyway, after experiencing the thrill of victory, we settled back into our seats and were treated to, you guessed it, The Marshmallow Challenge TED Talk!

After viewing Tom Wujec’s talk we discussed the project again. The two groups that failed conceded to ineffective communication, poor planning, and power struggle under pressure. While my group discussed simple collaboration and basic teamwork given the short amount of time we had to work with. So, anyway, long story short: this was an excellent team work activity and I suggest you gather your friends, co-workers, or kids and give it a go!

If it doesn’t work out, well hey, at least you have marshmallows!


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