Billy started with 14 marshmallows in his mouth before the minute began and then ate 8 marshmallows every 10 seconds. Claudia started without any marshmallows in her mouth and ate 3 more every 4 seconds. Who will eat the most in the group over the course of ONE minute? What if we uncapped the minute and went forever?
I made an activity called the MarshmallowMinute that had students working in groups to eat a given number of marshmallows every so many seconds for ONE minute. I wanted them to absorb the concept of rate of change, with more than their eyes.
The MarshmallowMinute was initially designed for students in my Intermediate Algebra class, which is a lighter form of Algebra 2. Really, this activity is a first year algebra activity that can extend deeper depending on the course.
This activity provided context, fun, eating, yelling, and a jumping off place to go from graphing linear models to linear systems. It also gave another opportunity to discuss domain and range, as well as discrete (LiteBrite) vs. continuous (Etch-a-Sketch) graphs.
Beware: one student did not understand he was supposed to EAT the marshmallows. At the end of his minute, he found a home for them in the trashcan. Poor kid.
Frustration alert! Finding fresh marshmallows that don’t stick together is more difficult than one might think. I’d actually consider making it the “Skittles Sixty Seconds” or “Popcorn Pandemonium” on my next go around.