Got apples and some common school supplies? A great way to put them to good use is with the Apple Annihilator STEM Challenge. Students will use their materials to build a wrecking ball designed for accuracy or total annihilation! They’ll test their designs by setting up marker “bowling pins” and try to knock down as many as possible using their apple wrecking ball designs.
What’s extra awesome is a very similar set of materials is used in all five Back-to-School STEM Challenges, so you can try them all!
How to Implement the Challenge
Check out this video walk-through of the challenge to see the materials, criteria & constraints, measuring results, cross-curricular extensions and more:
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. Amazon Affiliate links are included below.
- Set of 10 Markers or highlighters
- Markers will be used like bowling pins, so must stand on their own Crayola or broad highlighters work well
- Apple (1)
- Pocket folder with prongs (1)
- File folder or pocket folder without prongs may be substituted
- Small or medium binder clips (1 – 2)
- Unsharpened pencils (4 – 6)
- Tape (24 – 36 in.)
- String or yarn (36 – 48 in.)
- Design analysis handouts (included in resource)
- Marker “bowling pin” handouts (included in resource)
• Cardboard boxes, tubes, or scraps
- helpful in building a support structure and base for the wrecking ball rather than attaching to desk/table)
Apple Annihilator is a great intro to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which is part of 3rd and middle school NGSS standards! (3PS2-1, MS-PS2-1, and MS-PS2-2).
It can also be used to illustrate potential & kinetic energy, forces & motion. For additional cross-curricular content connections, check the video at the top of the post.
See the Resource
Fall STEM Challenge resources are available on STEMChallenge.com and on Teachers Pay Teachers.