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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Silva

Marshmallow Architect, Catapult & Polar Bears – Three Winter DIY Activities

Marshmallow Architect, Catapult & Polar Bears – Three Winter DIY Activities

Here’s a few free DIY STEM activities that are easy to do and lot of fun.  At 21 / 25 points, if you’re looking for a fun indoor activity that uses common household items and teaches your kids about structures, energy and temperature changes, try these three winter DIY activities that all involve marshmallows.  Plus, it’s OK if a few marshmallows go missing … Yum! 

What:  DIY Marshmallow Igloo Architect, Marshmallow Catapult and Marshmallow Polar Bears on Melting Ice

Rating (out of 25): At 21 Points, the rating is Do IT if you’re short of time because it only takes 10 minutes!  (Fun = 4 + Confidence & Curiosity = 5 + STEM Aligned = 5, + Time Value = 3, + Cost = 4

Cost:  Free (if you have the materials)

Age: 5+ (adult supervision recommended as requires toothpicks and using the freezer)

Supplies (for all three experiments):

  1. Marshmallows

  2. Toothpicks

  3. Water

  4. Plastic Containers

  5. 8 to 10 Popsicle Sticks

  6. Plastic Spoon

  7. Elastic Bands

Instructions for Marshmallow Igloo Architect:

  1. Build an igloo using marshmallows and toothpicks.

  2. That’s it.  No special instructions.  Be creative.

  3. Try different approaches to make the igloo secure.  How high can you make it?

STEM Lesson for Marshmallow Igloo:   First off, this is fun and tasty!  This simple engineering project involves creativity, problem solving, geometric concepts and spatial reasoning.  Also, as the marshmallows are exposed to air they harden, making the igloo more secure.

Instructions for Marshmallow Catapult:

  1. Layer 6 to 8 popsicle sticks together and wrap elastic bands securely on either end.

  2. Place a popsicle stick underneath and perpendicular to the stacked popsicle sticks.

  3. Place a plastic spoon on top and perpendicular to the stacked popsicle sticks.

  4. Have the ends of the spoon and single popsicle stick meet and wrap an elastic band securely on the ends.

  5. Place a marshmallow in the spoon, hold the catapult secure with your fingers and let it fly.  

  6. Asks questions:  How far will the marshmallow go?  How could we make it go higher and longer?  Create more leverage with your catapult by pushing the stack of popsicle sticks towards the ends connected by the elastic bands.  You can also get a  measuring tape to build confidence in simple math concepts.

STEM Lesson for Marshmallow Catapult:   A catapult is a simple machine and lever.  Just like Rosie Revere Engineer, we used Engineering skills to build the popsicle stick catapult. Just like Ada Twist Scientist we used science to test how far the  catapults flung the marshmallows. We’re also introducing Physics and Newton’s Third Law … Every action causes a reaction.  When you pull down the lever arm all that potential energy gets stored up. Release it and that potential energy converts to kinetic energy. Gravity also does its part as it pulls the object back down to the ground.

Instructions for Marshmallow Polar Bears on Melting Ice:

  1. Have your kids make polar bears out of marshmallows and tooth pics (use big and small marshmallows) or modelling clay.  

  2. Fill a couple containers with about an inch of water and place them in your freezer (or outside if it’s cold enough) to freeze. 

  3. Once the ice is frozen and the polar bears are made, take the ice out of the containers and break the ice into pieces. 

  4. Have your kids place the polar bears on the ice.

  5. Ask questions about why the polar bears need ice to survive?  What is their food source?  What will happen if the ice melts?

  6. Slowly poor in some hot water.

STEM Lesson for Marshmallow Polar Bears on Melting Ice:   Polar bears primarily live in northern regions.  They need ice to survive as they hunt seals.  Also, female polar bears create maternity dens on the sea ice. Climate change and the rise in temperature has had a direct impact on polar bears and their habitat. We need kids in STEM to create ways to help combat climate change and help creatures ad our planet. 

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