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The Planetopia Project STEM Challenges engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun!

Twenty years in the future, Earth has run out of room. Students are sent on an exploratory team to inhabit a fictional planet, Planetopia. They work collaboratively on STEM Design Challenges that integrate several content areas, within and beyond STEM.

Challenges include extension opportunities on topics including: landforms, plate tectonics, the water cycle, weather, natural disasters, plant parts, plant cells, animal cells, life cycles, heredity, genetics and more!

The Basics:

Using simple materials, students work in partners or groups against criteria & constraints lists to design and build solutions to challenge problems. Every challenge includes modifications for grades 2-8.

All five Planetopia STEM challenges are shown in greater detail below along with links to resources, blog posts, video walk-throughs, and teacher feedback on the resource.

See individual challenge blogs below!

See individual challenge videos below!

Teacher Feedback on the Planetopia Bundle

Students work individually or in partners/groups against a list of criteria and constraints to create the nonliving surface (geosphere & hydrosphere) of the fictional planet, Planetopia.

If you’re looking to apply learning in landforms, weathering & erosion, plate tectonics & more, this STEM / STEAM challenge is a perfectly engaging way to get the job done joyfully!


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Looking for a plant activity to apply learning in plant needs, parts/functions, adaptations, life cycles, cells, photosynthesis, and/or genetics & heredity? This STEM challenge / STEAM challenge is a perfectly engaging way to get the job done joyfully!

Students work individually or in partners/groups against a list of criteria and constraints to create a plant that has never been seen or imagined before.

The challenge is great any time of the year, but works especially well as a spring activity! The completed designs and extension projects make beautiful displays for Back to School Night or Open House as well!

As with all my challenges, modifications are included to make it appropriate for grades 2-8.  More details can be found in resource, blog, and video linked below the teacher feedback.


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Teacher Feedback on Planetopia Plants

Students work individually or in partners/groups against a list of criteria and constraints to create a shelter to defend against 3+ types of weather and/or disasters.

This challenge was developed as part of the Planetopia Project, but it can be used as a stand-alone challenge as well.

If you’re looking to apply learning in weather, climate, natural disasters, natural resources & more, this STEM / STEAM challenge is a perfectly engaging way to get the job done joyfully!

As with all my challenges, modifications are included to make it appropriate for grades 2-8.  More details can be found in resource, blog, and video linked below the teacher feedback.


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Teacher Feedback on Wild Weather Shelter

If you’re looking to apply learning in adaptations, habitats, food chains and food webs, life cycles, genetics & heredity, evolution, and/or human body systems, this STEM / STEAM challenge is a perfectly engaging way to get the job done joyfully!

It’s perfect for Halloween or spring, but works any time of the year to connect to your life science standards!

The basic premise:

Students work in individually or in partners or groups against a list of criteria and constraints to create a create-ure that has never been seen or imagined before.

As with all my challenges, modifications are included to make it appropriate for grades 2-8.  More details can be found in resource, blog, and video linked below the teacher feedback.


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Teacher Feedback on Create-ure

Earth Day is the perfect time for the New Earth City STEM / STEAM challenge activity, but any other time of the year will do!

The basic premise:

It is Earth Day, and the year 2035. Earth has become overcrowded. The students are part of a pioneering crew tasked with setting up the first city (New Earth City) on Planetopia, a fictional name for a recently discovered Earth-like planet in a distant solar system. Part of the mission is to set up the city to prevent or address the problems we are having on Earth so we don’t repeat our errors on our new home planet.

This challenge is best done in teams or partners due to time and space constraints.

As with all my challenges, modifications are included to make it appropriate for grades 2-8.  More details can be found in resource, blog, and video linked below the teacher feedback.


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Teacher Feedback on New Earth City

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In these STEM Challenges, students design and build various items for the fictional planet, Planetopia. Challenges include extension opportunities on: landforms, plate tectonics, the water cycle, weather, natural disasters, plant parts, plant cells, animal cells, life cycles, heredity, genetics and more! Modification suggestions included for grades 2 - 8.