She used a game-oriented activity in her CPSC 330 course to reinforce key aspects of the Agile Software Process. The game is called “The Marshmallow Challenge” and was popularized by Tim Wujec in his TED2010 talk and can be adapted to teach important lessons about any group project activity and is applicable to courses in many disciplines.
In the game, a group of participants is given 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of masking tape, 1 yard of string, scissors and 1 marshmallow. Each group is challenged to build the tallest possible structure measured from the tabletop to the top of the marshmallow in 20 minutes.
After the activity students reflected on the lessons learned from the challenge and how those lessons relate to course content. Students mentioned the importance of communication, frequent prototyping, thinking outside the box, and understanding the constraints of materials. Consideration of these same issues is vital to the success of software projects.