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:
You may know that leprechauns have the ability to grant three wishes to human captors in exchange for their freedom, but capturing leprechauns is trickier than it sounds!
Working in groups against criteria & constraints and equipped with a Leprechaun Lore List, students will design and build a device to lure and safely capture a leprechaun.
Note: The version you are viewing is 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 Handouts:
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Results and Design Analysis
- Leprechaun Lore List
- Discussion Questions
- Extension templates
- Process Flow Map
- Writing Templates
- Create Math Problems Based on Designs
- Math Extension Option: Practice dividing by 2 (editable version included)
- Math Extension Option: Identifying addition/subtraction fact families (editable version included)
- Math Extension Option: Identifying multiplication/division fact families (editable version included)
- Math Extension Option: Identifying equivalent percents, fractions, and decimals (editable version included)
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
- Leprechaun (1)
- Represented by bouncy balls, marbles, or grapes
- Small cups or bowls (1)
- String/yarn (24 – 36 in.)
- Shoeboxes, cereal boxes, tissue boxes and/or or cardboard scraps (distributed evenly among groups)
- Tape (12 – 24 in.)
- Cotton balls (5 – 10)
- Rubber bands (5 – 10)
- Lunch bags or plastic baggies (1 – 2)
- Foil (12 in. sheet)
- Paper and markers
- Leprechaun Lore List (included)
- Design analysis handouts (included)
• Single hole punch
• Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
• Craft sticks (5 – 10)
• Paperclips (10 – 20)
• Straws (5 – 10)
• Brass brads/fasteners (4)
• Toothpicks (10 – 20)
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 also available in a printable format as well as in discounted bundles.
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