Marshmallow Challenge helps MPA students become better thinkers

Photo courtesy of Mounds Park Academy
Mounds Park Academy students, from left, Aaliyah Kellogg, a fifth-grader from Maplewood; Nathan Harvanko, a fifth-grader from St. Paul; Connor Rozinka, a sixth-grader from Stillwater, and Lily Madore, a sixth-grader from St. Paul work on their marshmallow challenge project during an Aug. 23 assembly at the school.

ST. PAUL — In an Aug. 23 all-school assembly, Mounds Park Academy (MPA) students and faculty of were given the Marshmallow Challenge. This design and thinking exercise was aimed at further developing innovative thinking, problem-solving and collaboration skills.

Teams of four similarly-aged volunteers had 18 minutes and the following supplies: 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow. The goal was to build the tallest, freestanding structure, with the marshmallow on top.

While most classrooms at MPA already use design thinking as a process for problem solving, this assembly further emphasized to students and teachers there is great value in collaboration, failure and revision, putting forth effort and having a growth mindset.