The stage was set. It was parents vs heroes. Who would win? Conventional wisdom said the parents should have easily beat the heroes. It turns out the exact opposite was true!
The challenge, if you don’t know it, is a fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.
The challenge seems simple enough: small teams have to build a structure in 18 minutes using 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and 1 marshmallow. The winning team is the one that can construct the tallest freestanding structure with the marshmallow on top within the time allowed. The point of the exercise is to collaborate very quickly in order to respond to the task. It reveals some surprising lessons about the nature of collaboration.
I had the the prior knowledge that our youngest group of heroes (age 5-7) had time and again proven they would beat CEOs of fortune 500 companies, so it was extra special to watch this play out in front of our eyes.
The challenge has been done hundreds of times across the country and the results are intriguing.
Who performs poorly?
Recent business school graduates. Why? They cheat and get distracted. They try to find the single correct plan and then attempt to execute that. They run out of time and when they put the marshmallow on top, it’s a crisis. Sound familiar?
Who performs well?
Kindergarten kids. Why? First of all, none of the kids spend time trying to become CEO of Spaghetti Inc.! More importantly, they start with the marshmallow and then build successive prototypes, all the time keeping the marshmallow on top until they find a solution that works.
The lesson learned from all this fun? The capacity to experiment and prototype is essential to success. (aka trial and error)
Younger children tend to be more collaborative and prototype their way to success. Notice our youngest heroes started with the Marshmallow on their structure immediately. This is a key to success and something that is a common thread when completed all across the country with Kindergarteners
Adults tend to start building right away, only to rush to finish at as time is called and throw the marshmallow on time, only to see their structure immediately collapse. This is exactly what happened with our challenge as well!
Our Findings With Our Experiment
Our youngest heroes won! They build the strongest and tallest tower.
What Can We Learn From This?
We all want to avoid the uh-oh moment when the marshmallow causes the structure to collapse. The Marshmallow Challenge teaches us that prototyping and iterating can help achieve success. It also shows that success is dependent upon close collaboration between team members. ALL things we encourage and work on at Acton Academy Lincoln.
As we saw with The Marshmallow Challenge, learning at Acton Academy Lincoln is much like a contact sport – you have to get your sleeves rolled up and get stuck in. Collaboration helps get everyone involved in the process right from the start so you can reach that ta-da! moment at the end.
By getting started and focusing on iterating the process, we can implement what works and quickly throw out what doesn’t work. This approach ensures that when we reach the end of the project, the marshmallow is sitting firmly on top. This is Acton through and through.
New School Opening in LincolnRead Now
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Soon, there will be a new school opening in Lincoln.
This story is from KOLN - 1011 News in Lincoln. Read the full article on 1011now.com
Soon, there will be a new school opening in Lincoln.
It’s called Acton Academy and is an alternative for parents who don’t want their kids to follow traditional K-12 learning.
The room it will be in is going through renovations right now but soon it will be a place for nearly a dozen kids to learn.
“Our families are really excited to join, and build this with us as we learn too,” said co-founder, Zach Harsin.
Kids who would be in grades K-5 will all be in one room learning together. Right now, there’s ten enrolled.
“They’re learning how to be students in the 21st century and that requires problem-solving skills, that requires interpersonal skills, that requires communication and interviews and how to go out and solicit to get a job,” said Harsin.
Read the full article at 1011now.com
Accepting The Call to Adventure - A Note from the Harsins on our New Launch DateRead Now
New Launch Date Announced!
We are excited to announce our new launch date of November 16th, 2020 to meet the needs of our founding families in this current moment.
My wife and I originally envisioned opening in the Fall of 2021. This aligned well with our daughter starting Kindergarten next fall and as busy working parents of three little kiddos, the idea of 18 months of planning sure seemed much less daunting.
As we started speaking with our founding families, we quickly realized of all the years for these families to sit and wait for their dream school, this was NOT the year.
We decided to see how we could speed up our time table and meet their needs. We immediately began a hiring search while also looking for the perfect location. Within weeks we had hired our rock star guide and found our ideal location, but it still wasn't how we envisioned launching.
We still needed a handful more families to join us on this journey and there was still about six months of prep, planning, and training to fit into the next few months.
Yes, we want to deliver on all our promises, yes we want all the pieces to be planned exactly right, but we also realized, we wouldn't be true to the Acton spirit if we waited until the timing was perfect and all our ducks were in a row. This is our own hero's journey after-all!
No hero, whether it be George Washington, Anne Frank, or even Harry Potter feels truly prepared when they are called upon. What's worse, had they waited they would have missed their chance to change the world.
We know it won't be perfect, we know there will be bumps in the road, but we are excited to meet our call to adventure and cross the threshold into the unknown with a small group of founding families by our side!
The Specifics of our New Launch Plan
The Hero's Journey And the Acton Experience
Curious to learn more about the Hero's Journey and how it fits into the bigger picture at Acton Academy Lincoln? Read More...
School Choice In Nebraska | A Podcast Interview with CoFounder Zach HarsinRead Now
School Choice - A hot topic in 2020
Co-Founder Zach Harsin recently sat with Rachel Terry from School Choice Nebraska to discuss Acton Academy Lincoln and School Choice in Nebraska
Call Us CrazyRead Now
Local Family starts Elementary School in Lincoln, NE
I could hardly contain my excitement as I wrote out a text to my wife after finding the answer to our prayers. “You HAVE to watch this. I desire this for our family. This makes my heart happy”....
We had long felt angst whenever we tried to make a decision for our children’s education. No option ever felt quite right. From homeschooling to private schools and even moving to a small town, all possible options crossed our minds. As we continued to wrestle with what to do, one thing became abundantly clear, parents all over the world wrestle with this same thing. They all want what is best for their children. They are willing to buy a house in the ‘right’ school district, sacrifice financially to send them to private schools, or even devote themselves to homeschooling. Regardless of how it manifests itself, they are all doing what they believe is best for their family and their children’s futures.
As I wrote out a second text to my wife, I was writing a statement I never thought I would write, let alone be announcing to the world a few months later. The end of the text read; “We are going to start a school.” 😳
Yes, we are crazy. Yes, we have no idea what we have just signed up for. But within hours of stumbling upon Acton Academy, an 11-year-old micro-school model in Austin Texas, I had already written those words “We are going to start a school.”
I believe with every fiber of my soul that this is not only right for our family but, with its entrepreneurial spirit, something Lincoln will embrace with open arms.
The Video that Changed Everything!
Acton Academy Lincoln will simply be a community of like-minded families seeking a modern approach to education, one that will help equip their kids for the 21st century (using a blend of Montessori elements, Socratic questioning and learner driven learning), discover & develop their God-given passions and unique calling on their life, learn through quests and apprenticeships, and develop mastery of reading, writing, and arithmetic using the latest technology through self-paced learning!
Yes, just call us crazy. But we join 275 other Actons in 20 countries around the world who are all on this journey together. So the only question is, are you crazy enough to join?
Even if you don’t have school-aged kids, or you are more than happy with your current education path, we ask that you join us in praying for / assisting in our search for these three things to set Acton Academy Lincoln up for success:
Finally, if you are a parent who can identify with our struggle to find the right fit for your family, I ask you to watch this video. This was the video I stumbled upon that first stirred something inside me. My hope is it will resonate with you as well.
Acton Academy Lincoln Founder
PS- Please feel free to message us on here or text/call 402-858-5151. We would love to hear from you and learn more about your family!