When it’s the end of the school year, your summer activities need to be on-point to keep kids engaged! This summer STEM / STEAM Challenge brings the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners, students will select items to pack for a road trip. In this 2-D simulation of a 3-D task, students arrange items with different point values into pre-defined car trunk spaces. They can’t have it all, though! They’ll use a criteria & constraints list to bring all of what they need and some of what they want, as they aim for the highest point value.
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 version provided)
- Results and Design Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded) spacing for primary students included in color and and B&W)
- Discussion Questions (color and B&W)
- Extension templates
- Process Flow Map
- Create Math Problems Based on Designs
- Task card template (12 sample questions ranging age/skill level provided as well as editable versions and blank versions for students to create their own questions)
- Task card template for answer key (note: answers are not provided as questions will be generated based on student designs.)
- Road trip research & planning (9 pages, appropriate for grades 5 – 8. Where necessary, metric & customary measurement versions are included).
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.
- Note: The links below are Amazon Affiliate links. Find out more on the disclosure page.
- Car trunk handouts (4 options included)
- Road trip item cut-out handouts (included)
- Design analysis handouts (included)
• Envelopes or Ziploc® bags (to hold cut-out items when not in use)
• Tape or glue
• Cameras / cell phone cameras (to quickly capture different pack designs)
• Extension activity handouts (task cards, road trip planning, etc. – included)
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 is also available in the Summer Bundle and the Mega Bundle.
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Preview Music Credit:
“Carefree” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License