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.
Check out the video preview to see what is included in this resource (skip ahead to 6:12 to see what is included in the resource):
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
- Outer “Heavy” Heart outline
- Two versions of the Criteria and Constraints list in color and black & white (+ editable versions provided)
- Measure & Record Data directions and recording sheet (editable)
- Design Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included; editable)
- Discussion Questions (editable)
- Extension templates
- Process Flow Map
- Task card templates and samples (editable)
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 paperless format and as part of the Valentine’s Day and the Mega STEM Challenge bundles. Click through below: