Marshmallows on Spaghetti Skewers…S’mores or Architecture Education?

April 24, 2019

Marshmallows on Spaghetti Skewers…S’mores or Architecture Education?

Inspired by the famous AIA Staten Island Marshmallow and Spaghetti Building Competition, AIA New Jersey members Steven Lazarus and Stacey Kliesch took their grocery sacks and hit the road to offer K-12 lessons building spaghetti- marshmallow structures.

The first program was offered to the Kindergarten classes at Academy of St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York.  The students had a quick lesson is pyramids and then they were off…building structures tall and wide with their partner until they ran out of time!  Steve and Stacey were both impressed with the children’s quick understanding and strategic designs, supporting stray loads with ease! Principal Lauren Lytle was surprised an pleased to see that some of the usually reluctant students were the most confident and accomplished with this assignment! Classroom teachers Ms. Villalta and Mrs. Solano both supported the teams as the build was underway. 

The second program was offered at STEAM Day at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, NJ. Three eight grade classes, divided into teams of 2-3 students, competed for the tallest structure in a 40 minute period. Teacher Mr. Schulke was in charge of measuring the models. The winning structure came in at 108 cm tall with runners up at 106cm and 86cm.

In each session, the architects asked leading questions and made observations during the model building to guide the students to better understand the implications of their design decisions and take corrective action when necessary. The greatest surprise was avoiding a food fight or a picnic at this fun event! Both Steve and Stacey enjoyed offering this lesson and look forward to teaching it again.


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