Mater Christi students relax while building

Looking pleased with their structure (l. to r.): Corin Diehl, St .Albans; Wolfie Davis, Charlotte; Will Freeman, Fairfax; Zeb Burton, Burlington.

After a long week of filling in standardized test bubbles, Mater Christi School seventh-graders got some much-needed relief from sedentary assessment.

At the beginning of science class on Friday, they were divided into groups of four or five. Then their science teacher, Mark Pendergrass, explained that they would be competing to build the highest structure that they could, using only 10 pieces of spaghetti, 50 cm of masking tape, and one marshmallow.

Final adjustments being made with care by Celeste Slauterbeck, Charlotte, surrounded by Haley Walker, Burlington; Jaiden Tremblay, Milton; Seamus Howrigan, Colchester. Photos by courtesy of Mater Christi

In order to win, teams had to build a freestanding structure that elevated their marshmallow to the greatest possible height. There was a time limit of 20 minutes imposed so students needed to plan, execute, modify and collaborate in order to make a functional structure.

After the time elapsed, the structures were measured and a victor was determined! The activity ended with some discussion about the nature of group work and the engineering process.

In the end, everyone agreed on two points: marshmallows are delicious, and building something is better than filling in bubbles.

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