Philip, the Ethiopian and a Marshmallow Sculpture | UMC YoungPeople
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April 2018

Philip, the Ethiopian and a Marshmallow Sculpture

By Sharon Cook

It is one thing to understand, and another thing entirely to teach what we know. That is the tension at the center of Acts 8:26-40. Youth will experience this tension by describing a sculpture you have pre-made using uncooked spaghetti and mini-marshmallows.

Note: you can determine the difficulty of your structure. For structural integrity, remember that triangles are the strongest shape. The harder you make it, the longer this activity needs.

  • Divide the group into two, and let them know that one of them will take the role of Philip and the other will be as the Ethiopian. Send all the Ethiopians into the hall.
  • Show your sculpture to all the Philips. Let them know that using only words, they will have to describe this structure so their partner can build a replica. Give them a few minutes to study the structure, then put it in a box. (Describers can still take a look at it if they need a reminder, but builders shouldn’t be able to see it. TIP: another way to accomplish this is to give each describer a printed photo of the structure.)
  • Bring the builders in, and pair them with a Philip. Give each enough pasta and marshmallows for the build (include extras, because they will end up mangling marshmallows and breaking pasta) Let the teams work until they are done, or until time is nearly up.
  • Save a few minutes for final discussion. Reveal the original structure, and see who is close and who is nowhere near the original.
  • Challenge version: give the youth a list of words they may not say: right, corner, above, etc.

Closing discussion

  • What were some of the emotions you felt during this project?
  • Ask the describers: What made it easy or hard to describe the structure? Can you compare that to how Philip may have felt in this Scripture?
  • Ask the builders: What made it easy or hard to follow your partner? Can you compare that to how the Ethiopian may have felt in this Scripture?


  • Bibles for students
  • Uncooked spaghetti
  • Mini-marshmallows
  • List of ‘forbidden words’ (challenge option)
  • Hand made sculpture using spaghetti and marshmallows
  • Cardboard box, large enough for your sculpture
After 10 years of serving as pastor in local churches, Sharon now works on Conference Staff in Wisconsin. Her primary areas are camps, young people, and Safe Sanctuaries.