The Marshmallow Project Becomes The City X Project

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We’ve rebranded!

When we initially conceived our 3D printing workshops for kids, we used the framework of the design process and rapid prototyping to get kids thinking about inventions. This was inspired largely by Peter Skillman’s now-famous 2010 TED talk about the Marshmallow Challenge. The basis of the challenge is to take pasta noodles, some tape, and string to try to construct a device that will hold a single marshmallow as high up off the ground as possible. The Marshmallow Challenge is a fantastic hands-on team-building exercise, but it was distracting from our goals with the kids in our workshops.

class-workshop-300x198As our Project grew and we tested 3D modeling and design with elementary school kids in Appleton, Wisconsin, we learned that the framework of a story helps kids conceptualize their inventions better than an understanding of the nuances of the design process. Additionally, the marshmallows themselves were a dangerous introduction to the workshop, as we spent a disproportionate amount of time stopping kids from eating them or scraping their sticky remnants off of tabletops.

The story that we present to our kids is that of City X. Space exploring humans have landed on an alien, earth-like planet and must establish a new city there. Called City X, the characters in this city have several problems that require solving by engineers, designers, and inventors back on Earth (the kids in our workshops). These problems are representative of real-world issues, such as pollution, transportation, water scarcity, and other fundamental global concerns.

What will our kids invent to solve these problems? That remains to be seen!

If you’re interested in having The City X Project come to your school, contact us or fill out our school application form.

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