Looking for St. Patrick’s Day activities that your students will love but are more than just a craft or activity to pass the time? This St. Patrick’s STEM Challenge (or STEAM Challenge) will keep your students engaged in brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The basic premise:
Working against criteria & constraints individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build one or more devices to transfer leprechaun gold from his pot to their own.
Note: If you are in a 1:1 classroom, you may prefer 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 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)
- Results and Design Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded) spacing for primary students included in color and and B&W; editable)
- Discussion Questions (color and B&W; editable)
- Extension templates
- Write a Limerick
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension options
- Identifying even vs. odd numbers (editable)
- Using divisibility rules with 4-digit numbers (editable)
- Using divisibility rules with square roots and exponents; editable)
- Create-your-own word problems
- Identifying equivalent percents, fractions, and decimals (editable)
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
- Pots of “gold” to test designs (1 per group or 1 whole-class)
- Pots: Halloween plastic cauldrons look the part, but any bowl will do.
- Gold: chocolate coins, Almond Hershey’s Kisses, Rolos, etc. (two or three bags should be plenty for the whole class)
- Alternate option: if you also did the “Guard the Gold” challenge, use student-made pots of gold.
- Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
- String/yarn (12 24 in.)
- Tape (12 – 24 in.)
- Rubber bands (5 – 10)
- Bags to collect gold (1)
- Ruler/measuring tape
- Design analysis handouts (included)
- Craft sticks (5 – 10)
- Paperclips (10 – 20)
- Straws (5 – 10)
- Binder clips or clothespins (5)
- Bowls, cups, or coffee filters (1)
- Plastic spoons, knives, or forks
- Decoy/fool’s gold: crumpled yellow paper, cotton balls, etc.
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), as well as in discounted bundles.
If you prefer to purchase on TpT, click here.
Note: any coupon/promo codes for this site will only work on this site. TpT does not have the option for individual stores to offer promo codes.
Preview Music Credit:
“Carefree” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License