It’s the end of the school year, so your end-of-year activities need to be on-point to keep kids engaged! This boat building STEM / STEAM Challenges is perfect for summer – or any time of the year! It brings the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!
The basic premise:
Individually, or in partners/groups, students work against a criteria and constraints list to build a boat that is designed for capacity and/or speed. You can choose to run the challenge as a single 20-30 minute fun building task to do on a rainy day, or select from multiple options to add layers of depth and rigor.
Modifications included for grades 2-8.
This mini bundle comes with an “any time” original version and a Mini Mayflower version to use for Thanksgiving.
Note: This is the digital format, compatible with Google Slides ™.
- NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Teacher Tips:
- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides
- Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Student Slides
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Extension templates
- Class-wide Data Analysis Activity
- Graph Class Data
- Calculate Boat Speed
- Design Your Own Sailboat experiment (with sample answers)
- Design Report
- Create Your Own Word Problems
- Process Flow Maps
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. You don’t need to provide all of the following materials. Select a subset and/or add in your own ideas.)
For each student or group:
- Container filled with water to test the boats (be sure to choose a container with appropriate dimensions, or constrain students on length, width, height accordingly. For sailing tests, stream tables, under-bed-storage bins, or kiddie pools work well).
- Set of uniform objects to measure capacity (pennies, base-ten blocks, paperclips, balance weights, bouncy balls, etc.)
- Clay, foil and/or wax paper sheets
- 3×5 cards, paper, coffee filters, etc.
- Tape (masking tape or packing tape perform best, constrain to 12 in. or less)
This resource is also available in print format and as part of the Mega STEM Challenge bundle. Click through below: