Marshmallow Towers: Working Together Requires Sharing Power is a 30-45-minute activity where teams work together to construct a tower of marshmallows and spaghetti. It prompts participants to share power by negotiating how to construct their towers and collaborate to make them in a way that includes all team members. After the building, participants will discuss questions in a handout about their techniques, roles, plans, and power sharing agreements.
Planning and Preparation: This is a 30-45-minute activity that can be done with up to 40 participants, divided into teams of 4-5. You’ll need bags of marshmallow (about 20 per team), a box of uncooked spaghetti (20 per team), large paper plates (one for each team), measuring tape, yardstick, or string to measure the towers, and the handout with questions for the small groups (or you can write them on poster paper or a PowerPoint slide). You’ll divide participants into even teams of 4-5, give them an equal amount of building materials, and give them 5 minutes to make a plan for building before they touch the supplies. Participants will have 7 minutes to try to create the tallest tower. Each person needs to contribute, and the tower needs to stand on its own. If supplies break (or are consumed before measuring) they won’t be replaced. Feel free to let them eat any unused marshmallows.
Developmental Relationship Element: Share Power.
CASEL Competencies: communication, negotiating, collaborating, relationship skills, responsible decision-making.
Objective: Build and strengthen relationships among participants. Deepen understanding of Share Power in Search Institute’s developmental relationships framework.
# of Participants
Task Group Size
More Activities to Build Strong Relationships in Your Classroom or Group
Activity where participants stand in a circle and work together using yarn to create a web that can support a ball or balloon.
So You Think You Can Listen?
A relationship-building activity where participants take turns sharing about themselves and sharing positive words about the person who shares.
Activity where participants write down their strengths anonymously and then try to guess who possesses which strengths.
Related Resources on Relational Practices
Modeling Strong Relationships Among Staff Members
A video showing how organizations use the developmental relationships framework to model strong relationships with each other and with young people.
Learning from Failures and Mistakes
Activity where participants watch a video showing how celebrities learned from failure and interview adults in their life who overcame obstacles.
Relationships Matter: The Five Elements of Developmental Relationships
A short video where Search Institute introduces the five elements of the developmental relationships framework.