Student Spotlight: Learning through Mentoring

Antonio and Amani are working to create an automatic firing marshmallow gun, and in order to get to their final goal, they started out by building a manual marshmallow gun.  In this series of blog posts we are shining a light on our bright students as they create making projects in their in-school making class where they have complete control over the projects they are preparing to showcase at the Bay Area Maker Faire.


The students’ process includes documentation, collecting materials, and testing the prototype.

In terms of documentation, the students conducted internet research about how to make a marshmallow gun and drew a diagram which illustrated the measurements and materials.

Then they assembled their marshmallow gun and prepared to test it.

In their own words, Antonio  expressed his perspective of testing the marshmallow gun, when they encountered a problem and how they figured out what they wanted to do next to improve it.

Antonio’s interview:

We made mistakes, we had design flaws and we put stuff on backwards and we couldn’t just take it all back because we glued it on. I wanted it to be to the point where we didn’t need the carbon dioxide tank and we could just pump it ourselves and just keep putting new marshmallows in and keep shooting it. But because we put on the valve wrong we had to take it apart and try a different way, but that still didn’t work. So I’m hoping that our next gun, we’ll be able to carry it around without the big tank and we’ll be able to have cool mods on it that change how it shoots and make it look cool.

Visible Thinking

At Lighthouse, we use Visible Thinking routines, such as See, Think, Wonder which are great ways to support students in structuring their thoughts as well as making our own thinking visible. This thinking routine asks us: What do you see, What do you think about that, What does it make you wonder?

Interviewee’s Thoughts

The following is an interview with Armani and Antonio using the See, Think, Wonder thinking routine.  They used the thinking routine to share their thinking about the photos.


What do you see?

I see a sketch drawing that we created after seeing a number of examples on the internet.  We had to do a lot of measurements to figure out how many inches of PVC pipe to use and how long the barrel would be and where would we feed the marshmallows in at to fire the gun.  

I also see the testing of the marshmallow gun so basically we put the carbon dioxide tank and hooked up to the gun and see if it would all fit together and test fire it.


What do you think about that?

I think so far is pretty good and i think we got the right structure with how we’re going to make the marshmallow gun. I think we can make the marshmallow gun stronger.


What does it make you wonder?

I wonder how we are going to make it into a stronger phase than what we have now.  A stronger gun without the tank but something smaller that we can carry around.  At first we weren’t sure how it would all fit together but once we got it assemble we could tell from how far it could fire and from what angle.

About Gary Hall, PMP

I am a goal oriented person with a passion for helping others reach goals. My background in managing projects in technology as well as fitness and nutrition has positioned me to be in the ideal environment here at Lighthouse Community Charter Public Schools.