Edible science is so fun for any age! So once your kids get their hands into this hexagon marshmallow STEM building challenge, they’ll probably need some extra marshmallows to finish their creations — and replace the snacks.
Architecture and engineering are amazing opportunities to explore both art and science. Finding the perfect shapes for stability, strength, and durability will challenge your kids to develop problem-solving and creative thinking skills. So let’s get to the building!
To get started with this science challenge, you’ll want to give your family some room. So make sure you have some kind of flat table surface, and maybe a tablecloth to help contain all the bits and pieces.
Also, here are two new vocabulary words for you: faces, vertices, and edges. Faces are the “sides” of your shape. Vertices are the “corners” of your shapes, and edges are the outlining lines of the shape, that connect the corners. With 2D shapes, you have corners and lines, but no “face”. And with 3D shapes, like in this science challenge, you get vertices and edges, and faces, which are the flat surface areas between the edges and corners.
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Recommended Science Experiment Books
The cool thing about simple science experiments like this hexagon marshmallow STEM building challenge is that they make you want more. More science, more science experiments, and more fun! So check out some of our favorite science experiment books to help you keep the learning fun going.
Awesome Science Experiments for KidsBig Science Experiments for Little Kids: A First Science Book for Ages 3 to 5Awesome Physics Experiments for KidsThe Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On ActivitiesEngineering Activities for KidsKitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from Around the House
The supplies list for this experiment is super simple. Just two things:
- marshmallows (the little ones, not the big ones) — try the rainbow-colored marshmallows for more variety!
- toothpicks — you could also use thin dowels or uncooked spaghetti strands
Remember those new vocabulary words? In these directions, marshmallows will form the vertices of your building, and toothpicks will be the edges.
So let’s get started.
- Create a hexagon shape with the toothpicks and marshmallows. Hexagons have six edges and six vertices.
- Now place toothpicks in each marshmallow, pointing towards the middle of your hexagon.
- Then attach a marshmallow in the center, to create a new vertex in the middle. Use the picture to guide you.
4. Keep adding toothpicks and marshmallows until you get to the second level.
Notice how the second hexagon is formed floating above the first?
5. Discuss with your kids as they’re building. How many vertices are in their shape? How many edges? And how many faces? What other shapes do they see forming in their architecture?
As your sculptures get bigger, you’ll notice that the hexagons are subdivided into triangles. That’s because the triangle is one of the most stable and strong shapes out there. Your building can continue because the triangle shape forms a self-balancing weight holder.
How big can you get your marshmallow building to go?
Recommended Science Kits
This fun and easy homemade lava lamp science experiment is a great way to teach kids about density and chemical reactions.
This slime kit is the perfect way to teach kids about science and chemistry. With this set, they’ll learn about the properties of matter while having a blast.
- Prepare the materials
- Place the marshmallows in a flat space
- Create the first layer by connecting the marshmallows with the toothpicks to make a hexagon shape
- To create the next layer, place toothpicks in each marshmallow pointing upwards. Every three marshmallows make a triangular shape
- Discuss with your kids as you are making the activity so they can learn while they also enhance their motor and STEM skills
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Don’t forget to take pictures of your kids’ science-based art!
More Science Experiments
Need more simple-but-awesome science experiments? Here are a few of our favorites!