The Challenge:

Mr. Melster, a chocolate covered snowman, has been living on the International Space Station for the past year. He needs to get back to Earth but first must survive the harsh heat during re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. . Should you choose to accept this challenge, your class will need to develop a container to hold Mr. Melster that will protect him from the heat of re-entry.



  • Click here to REGISTER YOUR CLASS FOR THE COMPETITION by January 5th, 2022. This competition is open to both public and private schools as well as students who are home-schooled!
  • There are 3 separate divisions for the competition – Kindergarten through 2nd grade, 3rd through 5th grade, and 6th through 8th grade
  • Teachers may enter one container for each class they teach. (For elementary…one entry each unless you teach middle school and in which case you can do one for each class.)
  • You will receive your official Mr. Melster snowman after registering. Mr. Melster must be out of the wrapper before being placed in your container.
  • If a teacher wishes to have groups compete and then send your winner from each class to Mr. Szydlowski in the science office, that is ok.. We can provide you with additional snowmen for your internal competition (a blow torches may be checked out for your internal competition).
  • Your completed container with the unwrapped snowman in it must make it to the science office @ Jefferson Middle School by Tuesday, January 25th at noon. (You may send early). If you cannot get your completed container to JMS, please call Craig Adams @ 573-239-6410 OR email and it will be picked up at your home or school.  Please leave in the message where “Mr. Meltser” will be.

  • Testing will begin at 3:00 p.m. for middle school entries and 4:00 p.m. for elementary entries at Jefferson Middle School. You do not need to be present for testing but all are welcome.


  • Build your “protective container for Mr. Melster“!
    • Your container should be no larger than a 20 cm cube (no side of your container can be over 20 cm).
    • Your container will be subjected to a 3 minute burn from a propane blow torch placed 5 cm from your container.
    • Your container can be composed of any device EXCEPT those items sold specifically for heat protection.
    • After the three minute burning, your container will be opened and a snapshot of Mr. Melster will be taken.
    • The Columbia STEM Alliance team of Mr. Szydlowski (CPS Science), Mr. Adams (CSA) & Mr. Heimos (City of Columbia) will determine if Mr. Melster was harmed in any way.
    • A photo of your Mr. Melster  “post-burn” will be e-mailed to your teacher (or your parents if you are home schooled).
    • If Mr. Melster was not harmed your class will receive a mission accomplished certificate.
    • For all those who have a healthy Mr. Melster, the winning class in each division (k-2, 3-5 & 6-8) will be the class who constructed the “lightest container.
    • Winning classes in both the Elementary (K-2 & 3-5)  AND Middle School (6-8)  division your class will receive a PIZZA PARTY with a Science Show by Mr. Mike Szydlowski!

Supporting Links for the Classroom