Guard the Gold STEM Challenge
In this St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge, students help a leprechaun protect his gold from potential thieves.
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!
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)
- Leprechaun Lore List (in color and B&W; editable)
- Discussion Questions (color and B&W; editable)
- Extension templates
- Process Flow Map
- Writing Templates
- Rainbow Research Log (editable)
- Math Extension
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
For each student or group:
- Gold chocolate coins (5 – 10)
- Almond Hershey’s Kisses or Rolos are a good alternate – easier to find and often less expensive
- Small cups, bowls, or coffee filters (1 – 3)
- Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
- String/yarn (24 – 36 in.)
- Shoeboxes and/or cardboard scraps (distributed evenly among groups)
- Craft sticks (5 – 10)
- Tape (12 – 24 in.)
- Rubber bands (5 – 10)
- Design analysis handouts (included)
- Leprechaun Lore List (included)
- Plastic baggies (1 – 2)
- Clothespins (2 – 4)
- Paperclips (10 – 20)
- Straws (5 – 10)
- Toothpicks (10 – 20)
- Brass brads/fasteners (2 – 4)
- Single hole-punch
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
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