Master the art of building a REALLY tall spaghetti and marshmallow tower!
A surprisingly useful life skill considering the current popularity of spaghetti and marshmallow towers at school science days and work team building events.
So keep reading, I’ll be sharing my science prize winning tower design with you.
And while it’s not ‘rocket’ science, it is science… so ignore basic physics at your peril (I added that for the Physics teachers reading!).
But seriously, building a REALLY tall spaghetti tower is tricky… just moving your finished construction can sink you, if you haven’t planned ahead!
Step by step guide
To prevent your Tall Tower from Teetering, scan through the following step-by-step guide… it could be the difference between winning and losing!
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For the bottom two layers of the tower, double up the strands of spaghetti in the vertical connectors, it reduces slippage and adds support.
STEP 1: Start by building pyramids with four marshmallows at the base and one at the top. Use 1/2 length strands of spaghetti to connect the base and full length strands to connect the base to the marshmallow at the top.
And remember, always push the spaghetti deep into the marshmallow, it provides more grip (B).
STEP 2: Next, take two completed pyramids and join them together with a ‘bottomless’ pyramid.
STEP 3: Connect the bases of the two pyramids with two strands of spaghetti.
STEP 4: Continue joining pyramids until you have three rows, each consisting of four pyramids.
STEP 5: Connect the tops of the pyramids with horizontal lengths of spaghetti to complete the first layer.
STEP 6: Build a second layer of pyramids on top of the first layer, this one will consist of two rows of three pyramids.
Note: For layer 3 we have to change tack, because if it were another row of pyramids it would consist of only two pyramids!
STEP 7: Start by connecting the six marshmallows at the top of layer 2 to four marshmallows in square formation. Add lots of diagonal cross braces to provide extra rigidty.
STEP 8: Construct two ‘flying buttresses’ on opposite sides, each made from a single marshmallow supported by spaghetti, this will help support the spire.
STEP 9: To make the spire connect three cubes, with a base the same size as the four marshmallows in layer 3. Add DIAGONAL cross braces to each side, and across OPPOSITE sides, otherwise the cubes will collapse.
STEP 10: Add two more flying buttresses, the mirror opposite to the ones you added to layer 3.
STEP 11: To complete the spire add a ‘bottomless pyramid’ onto the top cube, to give the spire a nice point!
Don’t try burning or cooking the marshmallows in order to ‘strengthen’ them - it doesn’t work!
STEP 12: Building the spire separately means you can more easily move or transport your tower. When you are ready to join them, lower the spire onto the base so the ‘flying buttresses’ are aligned.
STEP 13: Fix them together by pushing short strands of spaghetti through both marshmallows in each ‘flying buttress’.
STEP 14: Spaghetti and marshmallow tower challenges often require an egg to be supported by the structure. The best way to do that is by creating a ‘nest’ from short strands of spaghetti pushed into the top marshmallow.
That’s it, I hope these instructions help, or at least give you some ideas!
Last Word of Advice
Of course, there’s not just one way to approach this challenge, and when done as group activity I’m always amazed at how many different tower designs you get.
However, as soon as your tower is FOUR spaghetti lengths tall, gravity starts to have a profound effect… the marshmallows begin to slowly slip (especially in warm conditions) and your tower can quickly begin to lean, twist or collapse!
That’s why if you are going for HEIGHT, you’re almost certainly going to have to use the ‘pyramid’ technique… that’s my final word of advice!
EVEN a spaghetti tower needs good design and good construction… the laws of physics very much apply… that’s why it’s such a great activity for science days, you learn so much, while having so much fun!
An Even Bigger Challenge
Hey, did you know, I’ve just spent ONE YEAR constructing something 599ft longer than my science prize winning spaghetti & marshmallow tower?
In fact, it’s the LONGEST of it’s kind in the world…
…and will challenge your creative problem solving abilities in a VERY different way, scroll down a little further.