Starting a course with a TED talk!
This is an awesome design and team-building activity. I have conducted it with 18 teams of students as an ice-breaker for Human-Computer Interaction & Cognition course I'm TAing. We had LOTS of fun and really interesting discussions afterwards. It is a good chance for students to practice:
- Working in teams under constraints of scope and time
- A chance to get creative and inventive. Team that have built the tallest structure (63.5cm) have stabilized it by splitting a thread into 3 threads! I haven't considered that possibility when we got that type of thread for this activity.
- Learn about assumptions in design projects. An assumption that marshmallow is light have ruined many structures! Those teams haven't touched their marshmallow until very end.
- Rapid prototyping, design iteration. Most teams who had only one plan they've worked on have failed at the end.
How does it relate to UX and Interaction Design?
- The marshmallow is a metaphor for assumptions about your users. Know your users.
- One cannot plan the perfect interface from the first time. When the marshmallow comes along - it may crash.