This engineering project is an absolute blast. In the experiment, each team is given the same exact supplies (Tape, Twenty Spaghetti noodles, Marshmallow) and a time limit.
I’ve done this experiment at different schools around Southern California and every time I see a group do something I’ve never seen before. Teamwork is the most crucial part of this experiment. If you’re doing this activity solo, I’d recommend using ten spaghetti noodles instead of twenty. An extension or extra material that can be added to bolster this activity is string. I encourage students to think about how string can be used to provide support to a shelter similar to a camping tents design.
The presentation of this activity on JPL’s website goes above and beyond by having key concepts. Upon completion, there is open ended discussion which uses this vernacular to ensure participants are using language similar to that in a structural engineering firm. This is a project that adults and kids enjoy in any setting. I’d give this activity my highest recommendation. Next step, engineering the perfect pasta recipe!