Life Lessons With A Marshmallow?

One marshmallow, 20 pieces of spaghetti, a bit of string and some tape. How can children learn agile leadership and life skills with those items you ask? Welcome to the Marshmallow Challenge!

12 May 2011
General, Scrum, agile
agile42, dave sharrock, marshmallow

(Upper Lynn Elementary, North Vancouver, May 11, 2011) The challenge was on today for Mrs Horner’s Grade 3 class to learn a few life lessons and have fun while doing it! The students were asked to build the tallest, freestanding structure with a marshmallow on the top made only using spaghetti, string and tape. Who would have thought a marshmallow weighed so much? And so the learning begins.

Active parents Dave Sharrock, agile42 Coach and Doug Jaremchuk who consult in Lean and Agile methods felt that the Marshmallow Challenge was not only beneficial for corporate executives, but also a fast and powerful exercise for improving children’s capacity to think outside the box, generate fresh ideas, build rapport and incorporate prototyping - all of which lie at the heart of effective innovation and problem solving. As Doug Jaremchuk says, “Its great seeing the kids involved in an exercise that incorporates learning by doing, collaboration, innovation and creativity. Being able to teach children how to build things iteratively brings them closer to success with each attempt made. Also, we’re trying to demonstrate that fun is fundamental to the forming of effective, well-functioning teams.” So, after only eighteen minutes to build their marshmallow structure, the students of Mrs Horner’s class have learned some important life lessons. 1) If at first you don’t succeed, try again . . . and again . . . and AGAIN; and 2) If your first idea doesn’t work . . . try something different!


Andrea Acheson
Managing Director
agile42 consulting ltd.
1572 Coleman Street
North Vancouver, V7K 1W8
Tel: +1 (778) 886 6303

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