The Marshmallow Challenge is an instructive design challenge. It involves the task of constructing the highest possible freestanding structure with a marshmallow on top.
The structure must be completed within 18 minutes using only 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, and one yard of string.
Observation and studies of participants show that kindergartners are regularly able to build higher structures, in comparison to groups of business school graduates. This is explained by the tendency for children to at once stick the marshmallow on top of a simple structure, test the prototype, and continue to improve upon it. Whereas, business school students tend to spend time vying for power, planning, and finally producing a structure to which the marshmallow is added. The challenge helps to build and develop prototyping, teamwork, leadership, and innovation skills and is a popular STEM activity. The challenge was invented by Peter Skillman and popularized by Tom Wujec.