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.
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Click here for the printable version of this resource.
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- 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:
- Criteria & Constraints List
- Results and Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Extension templates
- Process Flow Map
- Create Math Problems Based on Designs
- Twelve Design-Related Math Problems (three leveled sets)
- Road Trip Research & Planning (good for grades 5-8)
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. You have the option of using the completely digital version, or you can have students use the cut/paste car trunks & road trip items.
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- 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 printable format, and in the Summer Bundle. It will also soon be available in a digital Mega Bundle (coming May 2018).
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Preview Music Credit:
“Carefree” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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