Last Wednesday, as part of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Nebraska Section’s school outreach program for Engineer’s Week, Schemmer civil engineer Matt Hubel, P.E., CPSWQ, LEED AP BD+C, visited Mrs. Rosso’s second grade classroom at Joslyn Elementary School. He talked to the students about what engineers do, how engineering projects affect their everyday lives, and organized an engineering-related activity that challenged the kids to solve the problem.
The kids were split into groups for The Marshmallow Challenge where each team was given 20 pieces of dry spaghetti, three feet of masking tape and three feet of string. The object of the activity was to see which team could build the tallest tower, using only the materials provided, to hold one marshmallow. Once the marshmallow is placed atop the tower, whether it stands or falls, each team is measured from the top of the table to the top of the marshmallow.
After making sketches of what they thought their towers would look like, the teams went to work. Spaghetti was broken and lots of extra tape was used. Once the smoke cleared, the towers of 15” and 12” were the first and second place teams. One student said, “I feel really good because I’m actually building something!” Other teams had standing structures until the marshmallow was placed on top, making the tower topple over. Overall, the kids had a blast, and as a reward for their hard work and creativity, each student got an ASCE gift bag and a couple of marshmallows for a snack.