One Lesson Plan
Introduction Activity: The teacher will play the audio story The Eagle and the king. Questions suggestions to ask the children:
Who are the characters of this story? What the boy is doing to avoid the death of the baby eagle? What the mama eagle offer to the boy in change of the baby eagle?
Main Activity: Initiative is "recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it". Initiative has to be balanced with patience and dependability. You cannot shirk your responsibilities in one area to show initiative in a different area. A person who shows initiative will not only demonstrate to those around them that they care for them, they will also cultivate a life of motivation. They will show that they are willing to step out and do what is right without having to be constantly reminded and prodded.
Why do you think initiative is an important character quality to develop? When has someone shown initiative to help you? How did that make you feel? What are a few ways that you could show initiative today?
Next, divide the children in 3-4 groups. Each team have the mission to build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow.
Create a marshmallow challenge kit for each team, with each kit containing 20 of spaghetti, 1 meter of masking tape, 1 meter of string and 1 marshmallow. These ingredients should be placed into a paper lunch bag or envelope, which simplifies distribution and hides the contents, maximizing the element of surprise.
Each team should sit around a table. The whole group should work in the same space, fairly close together.
Give the instructions. Be clear and concise about the goals and rules of the challenge.
Build the tallest freestanding structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured either from the tabletop surface or from floor to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier.
The entire marshmallow must be on top: The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.
Use as much or as little of the kit as needed: Teams can use as many or as few of the 20 spaghetti sticks as needed, and as much or as little of the string or tape. The team cannot use the paper bag / envelope as part of their structure.
Break up the spaghetti, string or tape: Teams are free to break the spaghetti, or cut the tape and string to create new structures.
The challenge lasts 18 minutes: Teams cannot hold on to the structure when the time runs out. Those touching or supporting the structure at the end of the exercise will be disqualified.
Ensure everyone understands the rules: Repeat the rules if necessary and ask if anyone has any questions before starting.
Start the countdown clock and music at the start of the challenge.
Remind the teams of the time: Countdown the time. It can be effective to call out the time at 12 minutes, 9 minutes (halfway), 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds and a ten-second countdown.
Call out how the teams are doing: Let the entire group know how the teams are progressing. Call out each time a team builds a standing structure. Build a friendly rivalry. Encourage participants to look around, and don’t be afraid to raise the energy and the stakes.
Remind the teams that holders will be disqualified: Several teams will have the desire to hold on to their structure at the end to stabilize it because placing the marshmallow on top will cause the structure to buckle. The winning structure needs to be stable.
After the clock runs out, ask everyone in the room to sit down so everyone can see the structures.
Measure the structures: From the shortest standing structure to the tallest, measure and call out the heights. Identify the winning team.
Teams reflect on how they did: Have teams sit together and discuss their process. Introduce the questions below to help guide them in their reflection:
Debriefing: How did we work as a group?
There was somebody in your group that lead and took initiative to coordinate the process. What role did I take? How did I contribute? Is there anything I held off from doing? Why? What did I learn about myself and my behaviour? About other people and their behaviour? What can we learn from this activity?
Additional Resources: https://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_build_a_tower?language=en