Miscommunication causes mishap at annual marshmallow challenge

By Shannon Tseng | Staff Writer

The versatility of marshmallows doesn’t end with s’mores. On Thursday Nov. 5, Science Club hosted its annual Marshmallow Challenge during lunch in chemistry teacher Mr. Lee’s room. The goal was simple: to construct the longest unsupported bridge using only toothpicks and marshmallows. Each team had ten minutes to complete their bridge. The 40 teams constructed bridges of various shapes and sizes. Once time was up, Science Club officers measured the length of each structure.

Only bridges without supports were supposed to be qualified; however, due to miscommunication among the judges, a bridge with support structures won first place. Junior Mary Xu took home the grand prize, a bag of jumbo marshmallows, for their 38 centimeter long bridge.

“We came to the challenge for Lee extra credit,” said Xu.“We didn’t really have a strategy. We just got lucky, but we feel really good about our accomplishment.”

Later that day, Science Club president senior Cathy Wang announced the actual winners.

“Bridges with supports touching the table were not supposed to be counted as one long measurement,” said Wang. “Because of this, the winners should be senior Anthony Laus and sophomore Brandon Nguyen, with a 22.5 centimeter long bridge.”

Club officers decided to award both the makers of the longest supported and unsupported bridge. Despite the minor mishap, Science Club advisor Mr. Lee was happy with the Marshmallow Contest.

“The purpose of [this contest],” said Mr. Lee, “is to have some fun with science and engineering, even though this is more like [playing with] playdough. But there is still a lot of skill that has to go into designing a bridge hands-on versus just thinking about it. The students’ performance was very exciting. This is the first year we’re trying the bridge instead of the tower, I think it turned out very well.”

Sam Moturi and Tyler Zhu concentrate on constructing their bridge (Photo: Shannon Tseng).