Once Upon a STEM: Volume 2


Your students are in LOVE with our Once Upon a STEM challenges, but you have a huge dilemma… there is no way that you have enough for the school year!  Well, I have HUGE news for you!  We have created another set of 10 STEM challenges!  

Introducing “Once Upon a STEM Volume 2”

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Constructing solar ovens, balloon race cars, and windmills are just a few of the great STEM challenges you will find in Volume 2.  If you thought that the activities in Volume 1 were great, you are really going to enjoy our new series!

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.

Here is a quick glimpse into what our latest STEM challenges have to offer your students.

Shadows All Around Us

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?  This Shadow Drawing challenge encourages students to manipulate objects to find the answers to these questions.  It also allows them to get outside and breathe the fresh air, while learning.  Win-Win!!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: Secrets of the Seashore, Secrets of the Vegetable Garden, The Black Rabbit

Can I Really Bake Something Using the Sun?

I can only imagine the excitement in your classroom when you tell your students that their next STEM challenge involves building a Solar Oven.  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?!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: Sneezy the Snowman, Should I Share my Ice Cream?, Olivia Goes Camping

Splish Splash Bucket Towers

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?  This Bucket Tower challenge is great to use when teaching your students capacity.  It could also easily be linked to past experiences at water parks for a great personal narrative in writing.  You could create an entire week of lessons in all subjects around this ONE STEM challenge!!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: How Full Is Your Bucket?, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, The Farmer’s Water Buckets

Carnival Memories = Ferris Wheels

The first thing we notice when entering a carnival is the Ferris Wheel.  Watch as your students get to construct their own Ferris Wheel in this STEM challenge.  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!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: Olivia and the School Carnival, Dora the Explorer: At the Carnival, I Am (Not) Scared

Rock and Roll Guitars

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?  Students can take it a step further and compose their own songs on their Guitars.  You could have a cup guitar concert!  LOL!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band, The Sunrise Band

Wind Pipe Wonders

Continue the music genre with the creation of wind pipes.  Your students will be introduced to the wind pipe through the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  How do you construct a Wind Pipe so that it makes different sounds?  Your students will explore the correlation between the length of the pipe and the tone it makes.  It’s a great challenge and so easy to make with only straws, scissors, and tape!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: When the Wind Blows, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Whistle for Willie


On Your Mark, Get Set, Race!!

Who wouldn’t want to design, create, and race a Balloon Rocket Car?!  This STEM challenge is sure to be a favorite among your students.  Use a few simple materials (plastic bottle, bottle caps, straws, and a balloon) to construct a car that uses an inflated balloon to move across the ground.  Students will be able to test how air being forced out of the balloon gives the car momentum.  This is a great physics lesson!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: Once Upon a Balloon, If I Built a Car, Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race

Camping in Class

Students will construct their own Tents for small creatures in this challenge.  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?   Bring in a fan and see if the tents are able to withstand win, or use water to test for rain.  Students can discuss the components needed for adequate shelter from the elements.

Suggest Read-Alouds include: A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Over in the Forest, Just Me and My Dad


Wind power has become more popular with our quest for clean energy options.  Students are able to create a Windmill in this challenge.  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.  This challenge definitely opens the gate for in depth conversations.

Suggested Read-Alouds include: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Windmills, Wind Energy

It’s Recess Time

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?  This is a challenge that I would keep and display for others to see.  Watch as your students become true architects, having to draw, construct, and test their playground equipment.  This is a challenge where the possibilities are endless!

Suggested Read-Alouds include: Pete the Cat: Construction Destruction, When I Build With Blocks, Let’s Build a Playground

Take Advantage of Our Limited Time Early Bird Offer ~ Grab This Resource!

If you’ve already been teaching with our Once Upon a STEM Volume 1 series, we know that you are going to love adding to that resource with Volume 2!  For a limited time offer, our Volume 2 set of 10 STEM Challenges is on sale for $16.00. (Regular price $25.00) 

Click HERE to Purchase Once Upon a STEM Volume 2

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Or maybe you are ready to join the many teachers who are RAVING about our Once Upon a STEM series and purchase both Volumes 1 and 2.  We have a special limited time deal for you! We are offering 20% off Once Upon a STEM: Volume 1! Use promo code STEMV2PROMO at checkout.

Don’t miss out on these limited time offers!  Engage your students in discovery, problem solving, and deep thinking by purchasing our STEM series today!!!

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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!

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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.