What’s the “New Deal” with marshmallows?

March 25, 2010 — by Jenny Zhang

What act, in an effort to boost the economy, made available millions of dollars to help farmers meet their mortgages by giving them compensation for not producing certain crops?

That would be the Agricultural Adjustment Act, of course, and on March 16 and 17, AP US History teacher Matt Torrens made sure his students knew this lesson.

Using large puffy marshmallows, Torrens created an exercise that helped students match specific acts of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal System with their descriptions, so that students could do better on the quiz the following class period. Students were paired up, one on each side of the room and each pair was given a specific act from the New Deal. Then, Torrens provided the description of one of the acts as a question, and the pair who had the act that corresponded with the description had to realize this and immediately throw a marshmallow to each other. Any student who failed to do so had to stand in the front of the room and have a marshmallow thrown at them by a student of his or her choice.

“[The exercise] was effective. It was actually really good to get [the acts] through our minds, especially right before our quiz,” said junior David Mandell. “It definitely showed us that there were more acts than we knew of, so we definitely need to study. Well, [I do], at least.”

Students cleaned up the mess on the floor, and a couple rewarded themselves by eating the extra marshmallows.

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