March 6, 2016

Easter STEM Challenge Events







Nice Nest Criteria & Constraints List

Spring is HERE!  I am always happy to move on to a new season, because each new season provides inspiration for STEM challenges!

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!  STEM challenges are always most beneficial when done in multiple iterations, but they can be treated as one-off activities as well.  

I'm in the process of filming video walk-throughs for each challenge, which I will include on their individual blog posts. In the overview of each challenge below, 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).

Blog/Vlog Schedule:

Nice Nest: posted
Egg-Hanced: March 30, 2017
Basket Bounce: March 30, 2017
Carrot Carriage: April 6, 2017
Bean Bind: April 9, 2017

Where I can in the video walk throughs, I will describe ways you can tweak the challenges to make them non-Easter challenges.

A brief description of each challenge is available below, and more information is available by clicking on each challenge title.





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!

Stem Basics:

  • Give the students a list of criteria and constraints to guide their designs.
  • 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.





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. 

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.




Stem Basics:


  • Give the students a list of criteria and constraints to guide their designs.
  • 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.





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.

Stem Basics:
  • Give the students a list of criteria and constraints to guide their designs.
  • 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.





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.




Stem Basics:
  • Give the students a list of criteria and constraints to guide their designs.
  • 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.



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.


Stem Basics:

  • Give the students a list of criteria and constraints to guide their designs.
  • 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.









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



6 comments:

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

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

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

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

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