One of the best ways that I have found for students to build relationships is through collaboration. You can find out a lot about each other when you are having to work together on something like building spaghetti towers.
I have to start off by saying that I in no way came up with this idea by myself. I saw this idea floating around on Pinterest.
The objective of spaghetti towers is for groups to create as tower as high as they possibly can without having to hold onto it. A successful tower should be able to stand on its own two feet (or noodles).
The first year I tried this it was a complete disaster because I tried using marshmallows. I later learned that some people use a marshmallow at the top of the tower, but I used marshmallows to hold the noodles together and it was one hot mess.
I started tearing marshmallows in half because I didn’t buy enough Dots which caused everything to stick to the table…and I mean EVERYTHING! Noodles were stuck, marshmallows were stuck, children were stuck. (Kinda kidding on that last part, and then I’m kinda not. It was a mess!)
This year when we made spaghetti towers, I bought cheap noodles and a cheap version of Dots. I didn’t count anything out to try and make anything fair. I just said “You get what you get” and you know the rest.
I just walked around and threw noodles on the tables along with a handful of Dots. I did go back around and pass out more Dots since I knew this would help to make their tower stronger.
I think I bought 2-3 packages of dots and had students from my first class turn these into me when they were finished so I could reuse them with my second class.
Every year I have to have this talk about not eating the Dots of the spaghetti noodles, and every year somebody eats something. So, plan for this to happen. That’s why you might purchase an extra pack of Dots.
You will want to be actively monitoring because you will have students who get tremendously frustrated when they see that their tower is not wanting to stand up straight. Be there as a positive support – not fixing the problem for them but asking questions and motivating them to find the answers on their own.
#1 rule is that all students get to share an idea and the group has to try it. Nobody’s idea is DUM!
Hope your kiddos enjoy spaghetti towers as much as my students do every year! I would love to see photos or hear of other ways that you have tried making towers in your classroom. God Bless! Whitney