March 6, 2016

Easter & Spring STEM Challenges

Spring is HERE!  I am always happy to move on to a new season, because each new season provides inspiration for STEM challenges!  I've got some super-engaging & fun ways to bust through that spring fever -- five collaborative, super-charged critical thinking & problem-solving STEM activities: Nice Nest, Egg-hanced, Basket Bounce, Carrot Carriage, and Bean Bind! And don't worry if you aren't interested in Easter challenges; there are simple tweaks to make these just for spring!

Five STEM Challenges perfect for Easter or spring! Modifications included for grades 2-8.

As always, I aim to create challenges with cheap, easily-obtained materials. Just about everything I used for all challenges was procured at the Dollar Tree and grocery stores. I recommend one challenge per day or week leading up to Easter, or even all challenges in one day-long 5-event pentathlon, for the brave of heart, mind, and spirit! 

Five STEM Challenges perfect for Easter or spring! Modifications included for grades 2-8.As you scroll through this post, you'll find a brief overview and photos of each challenge; more details can be found by clicking on the challenge titles.  I'm in the process of filming video walk-throughs for each challenge, which I will include on their own individual blog posts. You can find the linked schedule for when these will post below. 

Make sure you pin the image to the left so you can easily make your way back to check for videos on their post dates!

Video Walk-Throughs Include:

* An overview of how to conduct the challenge, including was to make the challenges more spring-based than Easter-based, if desired

* Basic criteria & constraints

* Ways to make the challenge easier or harder for your students

* How to extend with cross-curricular lessons/activities

* Demonstrations & examples

* Materials tips & more! 

Blog/Vlog Schedule:
Nice Nest: posted
Egg-Hanced: posted
Basket Bounce: posted
Carrot Carriage: posted
Bean Bind: posted

Nice Nest
Criteria & Constraints List
Stem Basics:

* Give the students a list of criteria and constraints to guide their designs (see example, right).

* Post-build, students test their designs and record and share results.

* If desired, give time for related research and extension activities.

*Provide time for a second iteration for students to apply learnings.

*Need more details on how to break up a STEM Challenge lesson? Check out The STEM Challenge Cycle.

Note: The challenge title links to the blog post as soon as it is available (prior to that, it will link to the resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store).

Challenge: Nice Nest

Basic Premise: Individually, or in partners/groups, students will build a nest that holds as many eggs as possible using predominantly toilet paper.

You'll want the very cheapest TP one can find - maybe you can even use the school's TP!  The thinner the TP, the harder this challenge becomes!

Challenge: Bean Bind

Basic Premise: Due to equipment malfunctioning at the bean factory, several types of beans are all mixed-up, putting the Easter Bunny in a bind!  Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a device to sort the jelly beans from the mixed-up beans. (Not to worry, if your students are too cool for this explanation, we can take down the cutesy factor by just calling it a factory mix-up!)

If you’re working with younger students, you’ll want to mix jelly beans with only one other bean type that is not too similar in size (e.g. black beans). For older students, increase to two or three other bean types, some of which may be closer in size to the jelly beans.

Challenge: Carrot Carriage

Basic Premise: Individually, or in partners/groups, students will design and build a carriage to hold cargo and roll downhill made primarily of carrots.

Note: You'll need to demonstrate to students before starting how to handle the toothpicks safely so they don't poke their fingers. Pictures and notes are included in the prepared lesson.

Challenge: Egg-hanced

Basic Premise: This is a classic egg-drop challenge with optional modifications. Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a device to protect an egg from cracking when dropped from one or more predetermined heights.

Challenge: Basket Bounce

Basic Premise: Individually, or in partners/groups, students design and build a basket that will hold and contain Easter eggs as they participate in the Basket Bounce relay race.

Gotta have the bundle?

Sample pages from the Spring & Easter Bundle

Check out these other great ideas from some of my favorite bloggers!


  1. I love this challenge, so much fun and so much learning at the same time. Your class must love this.

  2. So fun!! You're always so creative!! The toilet paper one looks like a challenge! Can't wait to see you next week!!

    1. Thanks, Kathie! I'm looking so forward to it!

  3. I love your ideas! They get me thinking about how to integrate STEM into my subject areas. Thank you.