Create-ure STEM Challenge

Create-ure STEM Challenge


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.

Teaching about plants and need the perfect activity to engage? This STEM / STEAM Challenge is perfect for applying learning in plant needs, parts/functions, adaptations, life cycles, cells, photosynthesis, and/or genetics & heredity.

This STEM 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!

The basic premise: 

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

Check out the video preview to see what is included in this resource:


Note: If you are in a 1:1 classroom, you may prefer the
digital format, compatible with Google Slides ™.

Resource includes:

  • 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 Handouts
    • Post-design extension activities list
    • Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
  • Student Handouts:
    • Criteria & Constraints List (in color and B&W; editable version provided)
    • Results and Design Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded) spacing for primary students included in color and and B&W)
    • Discussion Questions (color and B&W)
  • Extension templates
    • Process flow maps
    • Create & solve math problems based on designs
    • Life Science Folder/Booklet Project templates (editable):
      • General Information
      • Feature Spotlight
      • Life Cycle
      • Where in the World? (Habitats)
      • Food Chain / Food Web
      • Animal Classification
      • Geologic Time Scale
      • Genetics / Heredity
      • Evolution
      • Body Systems Compare/Contrast

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.)

Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:

  • Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
  • Helps students develop growth mindset traits like persistence and resilience
  • High levels of student engagement
  • The potential to hit upon all NGSS ETS standards depending on the depth and number of iterations you choose to implement in your classroom (modifications included)
  • Highly flexible and differentiated for materials, timing, grade levels, and rigor.

Each design iteration should be planned for ~60 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. If you add extension activities, you will need to adjust timing accordingly.

This resource is available in a digital 1:1 format, compatible with Google Slides (TM). It is also available in the Mega Bundle, and will soon be available in a discounted Planetopia Project bundle.















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Preview Music Credit:

“Carefree” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


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