20 STEM Challenges for Kids

October 12, 2020 by




Start your year out right with 20 STEM Challenges for Kids! We have listed 20 inexpensive activities you can try with your students right off the bat! #17 is by far my favorite!!

We want STEM instruction to be easy for you to implement, so our series includes:

  • An instructional guideline for you with a daily lesson sequence recommendation.
  • A teacher guide that includes materials needed, prior knowledge questions, lesson plan, and closure activity.
  • Paired classroom books to build background and make connections to the STEM challenge.
  • Vocabulary cards with illustrations that gear your students toward important words they can use when completing their challenge.
  • Illustrated student readers on the same topic to get your students thinking about the challenge.  These readers are also written on three different levels to meet the needs of all of your students.
  • Design Process Posters that highlight the main steps in completing a STEM challenge.
  • Every student gets a STEM Journal which restates the challenge question, lists the vocabulary words and their definitions, identifies the materials needed, and walks students through the STEM process.  Students are able to plan out and execute their design, while reflecting on what worked and what needs to be changed for next time.
  • As an added BONUS, a math problem, extension activity, and home connection with a project compatible website are also included in the journal.
  • Lastly, a numeric rubric for you to evaluate the projects and journal responses.

 

Challenge #1. Building a Paper Airplane

Challenge Question: Can you build a paper airplane that will fly far through the air? Build one and measure how far it will go!

#2. Building a Roller Coaster

Challenge Question: What kind of roller coaster can you make with straws? Use a ping pong ball as your “car” to try it out when you are finished!

Building a Roller Coaster: What kind of roller coaster can you make with straws? Use a ping pong ball as your “car” to try it out when you are finished!

#3. Jellybean Structures

Challenge Question: What kind of structure can you make using only jelly beans and toothpicks?

Jellybean Structures: What kind of structure can you make using only jelly beans and toothpicks?

Challenge #4. Building a Tall Tower

Challenge Question: How tall can you build a tower using only straws and tape? Make sure you measure it to find out!

How tall can you build a tower using only straws and tape? Make sure you measure it to find out!

#5. Index Card Structures

Challenge Question: How can you make the biggest structure possible using only index cards?

How can you make the biggest structure possible using only index cards?

#6. Building a Paper Plate Marble Maze

Challenge Questions: Can you build a marble maze using a paper plate? Try sticking on items for the marble to go under and around.

Can you build a marble maze using a paper plate? Try sticking on items for the marble to go under and around.

Challenge #7. Building an Army Launcher

Challenge Question: Can you build a launcher for your army man with the things in the provided cup? How can you make it go as far as possible?

Can you build a launcher for your army man with the things in the provided cup? How can you make it go as far as possible?

#8. How Strong is Spaghetti?

Challenge Question: How strong is dry spaghetti? Can you build a structure that holds many books or blocks? How many books can it hold?

How strong is dry spaghetti? Can you build a structure that holds many books or blocks? How many books can it hold?

#9. Making a Harmonica

Challenge Question:  How can you make different sounds on a harmonica you make with craft sticks, rubber bands, and a straw?

How can you make different sounds on a harmonica you make with craft sticks, rubber bands, and a straw?

 

Challenge #10. Building a Light Circuit

Challenge Question: How can you make a light turn on if you are only working with a broken strand of lights? Try it out to see!

How can you make a light turn on if you are only working with a broken strand of lights? Try it out to see!

 

#11. Shadows All Around Us

Challenge Question: Think about how the shadows of objects change throughout the day.  Is there a certain time of day that you don’t have a shadow?  How do you make a shadow become longer or shorter?

 

#12. Solar Oven

Challenge Question: Watch the awe in your students as they use everyday materials, like plastic wrap, aluminum foil, boxes, straws, tape, and black paper to build an oven that actually heats up!  What will they try to cook once it’s completed?!

 

Challenge #13. Bucket Tower

Challenge Question: Have you ever been to a water park and been dumped on by a bucket full of water?  Do you think that you could build a model of that bucket?  How many pennies could your bucket hold?

 

#14. Making a Ferris Wheel

Challenge Question: How many seats will the wheel have?  Can you actually make it rotate?  Using only craft sticks, glue, and a dowel, this project will be one your students are sure to enjoy!

 

#15. Guitars

Challenge Question: How much fun will your class have creating cup guitars and playing music on them?!  Is there a way to make each rubber band sound differently on the cup?

 

Challenge #16. Wind Pipes

Challenge Question: How do you construct a wind pipe so that it makes different sounds?

 

#17. Balloon Rocket Car

Challenge Question: Students will be able to test how air being forced out of the balloon gives the car momentum.  This is a great physics lesson!

 

#18. Constructing a Tent

Challenge Question: Using a variety of crafting supplies, they will be able to use their imagination to build any type of tent they desire.  Add to the challenge by comparing size… How many small animals would fit in the tent?

 

Challenge #19. Windmills

Challenge Question: They will be able to identify important components that allow the windmill to turn and experiment with various ways to make it go faster or slower.  Groups can also discuss how windmills are able to harness wind energy to create power for us.

 

#20. Design a Playground

Challenge Question: Having your students design their own playground will bring out the creativity in all minds.  Will they include slides, swings, or maybe a Merry Go Round?

These 20 STEM Challenges for Kids are included in both of our Once Upon a STEM bundles.  You can grab the first 10 in Volume 1 and the second set of 10 in Volume 2. Give your students some hands-on application in Science, Engineering, and Math, while integrating technology and group discussion into each challenge.

Ready to start STEM Challenges in your classroom?  We want you to start on the right foot!

Don’t forget to snag up our FREE Engineering Design Process Posters!

FREE Engineering Design Process Posters for any STEM Story Challenge!

 

 

Now that you are ready to start implementing STEM Challenges in your classroom, you’re on your way to becoming a more efficient teacher! 

At Education to the Core, we provide done-for-you curriculum that is simple, fun, and effective! We want you to be the very best teacher you can be, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In order to be an effective educator, you have to take care of you first!

We strive to make a healthy work-life balance a reality for you each and every day.If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to join my email list to get exclusive FREEBIES, exclusive content, updates, deals!

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