These Thanksgiving STEM / STEAM Challenges will engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun while following the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World! Thanksgiving activities can be fun AND a good use of instructional time!
The basic premise:
Students work in partners or groups against criteria & constraints lists to design and build Thanksgiving-themed devices. Modification suggestions are included to make these challenges engaging and productive for students in grades 2 – 8.
There are five STEM design challenge events included in this bundle:
- Though the Pumpkin Picker and Corn Cultivator challenges could be interchanged, the recommended order is based on the following story line:
- Pilgrims come to America (Mini Mayflower)
- Pilgrims require shelter (Protect-a-Pilgrim)
- (note: Native American cut-outs are included so students can build for Pilgrims and/or Native Americans)
- Pilgrims gather food (Pumpkin Picker)
- Pilgrims begin to practice organized agriculture (Corn Cultivator)
- With food & shelter in place, Pilgrims have time for fun and games (Turkey Transporter)
This bundle saves you ~40% off the cost of buying each challenge separately. What a bargain! ☺
See the preview below:
Note: This version is for use with Google Slides in 1:1 / paperless classrooms. If you prefer to print and have students complete work with paper/pencil, you’ll want to look at the printable version instead.
If you have questions about which version is right for you, please feel free to reach out with a question: [email protected]
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. Materials lists can be found in the product descriptions for each individual challenge linked above.
- Overall STEM Tips
- Suggestions on timing and whether or not to treat these challenges as competitions
- What to say (and what not to say) during STEM Challenges
- 5-event Data Tracker (Google Slide format & printable version)
Plus, each challenge comes with:
- NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Teacher Tips
- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to” Videos
- Links to challenge-specific video walk-throughs
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Student Slides
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable versions provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Extension slides
- Process Flow Map
- Create & Solve Math Problems Based on Designs
- Several video / website slides for broadening understanding of related topics
- Plus, other design-specific extensions (see each individual challenge resource description page for more details)
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 – 90 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.
NOTE: You can save even more by purchasing this bundle as part of the
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE!!!
This resource is also available in a print version!