Looking for Valentine’s Day activities that your students will love but are more than just a craft or activity to pass the time? This Valentine’s STEM Challenge (or STEAM Challenge) will keep your students engaged in brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The “M” in this STEM challenge should be an extra-large capital letter, because it is definitely the focus in this 2-D challenge!
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners/small groups, students will design the “heaviest” heart possible.
– Using a criteria/constraints list, students create small hearts of various colors & sizes. Point values are assigned to each color group based on its size. Students arrange various configurations of their smaller hearts inside a large, outer heart in order to create the “heaviest” possible heart. (“Heaviest” is in quotation marks because we are not measuring weight; rather, we are assigning point values to inner hearts.)
This challenge can be run simply (focusing on shape creation & manipulation, measurement, addition, and symmetry), or you can add complexity (focusing on length/width ratios, multiplying & dividing decimals, percent contribution, etc.). Two criteria/constraints lists are provided to highlight either end of the spectrum along with editable versions.
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
- Outer “Heavy” Heart outline (printable option included)
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Extension slides
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- 12 math problem task card slides of increasing difficulty
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:
- Colored construction or printer paper (3 – 6 sheets)
- Recommended one sheet each of red, pink, and purple per partner/group
- Colored pencils or crayons
- Heart outline copies
- Design analysis handouts
- Folders, Ziploc bags, or large envelopes to contain cutouts if using on multiple days.
- Glue (if you want students to glue their final design in place)
- Calculators (for younger students and/or those with special needs)
This resource is also available in print format and as part of the Valentine’s Day and the Mega STEM Challenge bundles. Click through below: