Drippin’ Dash STEM Challenge

Drippin’ Dash STEM Challenge


Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a water scoop purpose-built for volume and stability to be used in a relay race: The Drippin’ Dash.

When it’s the end of the school year, your summer activities need to be on-point to keep kids engaged! This summer STEM / STEAM Challenge 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 will design and build a water scoop purpose-built for volume and stability to be used in a relay race: The Drippin’ Dash.


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

Take me to this resource on TpT.

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 Map
    • Create Math Problems Based on Designs
    • Water Waste (leaky faucet calculation sheet – comes with editable version and answer key)

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.

    • Note: The links below are Amazon Affiliate links. Find out more on the disclosure page.
      • Water (~1 gallon)
        • Buckets, pails, or tubs (2 per team, do not need to be identical)
      • Straws (5 – 10)
      • Plastic wrap, wax paper, and/or foil (~12 sq. in.)
        • Do not use plastic baggies, it’s too easy!
      • Pipe cleaners (4 – 6)
      • Yarn or string (12 – 24 in.)
      • Scissors
      • Ruler
      • Measuring cups, graduated cylinders, and/or beakers
      • Design analysis handouts (included)
      • Optional
        – Cardboard scraps
        – Toothpicks
        – Clothespins or binder clips
        – Water bottle lids
        – Funnel (to help with race measurements)


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 is also available in the Summer Bundle and the Mega Bundle.






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Preview Music Credit:

“Carefree” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


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