Sanity Savers: Pretzel Structures

presented by national grid

Written by: Dan Walsh
STEM Educator

Supplies needed:

Pretzels and marshmallows work best.
The other options are frosting, gumdrops, or toothpicks.


Build time: 5-10 minutes   

Academic Subjects:

Science/ Engineering   
This lesson supports the following standards:
ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems – A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions. (secondary to KPS2-2)  
ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems – Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints). The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria). Different proposals for solutions can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account.  

Directions for Pretzel Tower:   

Adding a design challenge to this lesson can add an extra layer of fun. The three pigs need your help! They decided to make a fourth house out of pretzels and marshmallows! Can you help them construct the house before the big bad wolf pays a visit?
1.)   First place the materials on each plate. Each student should get about six pretzels and six marshmallows. 
2.)   Start by demonstrating how to stick the two together, the pretzels can slowly be stuck into marshmallows. It may be frustrating at first, so have plenty of back up pretzels in case any break.
3.)   Build two separate squares with 4 pretzels and 4 marshmallows each. 4.)   Decide which square is going to be the base. Then stick a pretzel vertically in all four corners.
5.)   Take the other square and place it on top. From there the child can keep building if their house is still stable! Once the student is happy with their project they may eat it!  Here are a few other ideas for pretzel structures. Students can build tables, snow crystals, pyramids, or even animals.  Younger guests may start with building two-dimensional shapes, which is great!
Even if the student is building basic shapes, they will be using concepts of engineering. They are taking what is in their head and mapping it out with the pretzels.

Check out our other Sanity Savers posts here!

Field trips are back! Please be aware that it will be busier than usual.