Back to School STEM Challenge Activities: 1:1 PAPERLESS Version

Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
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  • Google Apps™
150 pages
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Includes Google Apps™
This bundle contains one or more resources with Google apps (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

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  1. Super-charge your STEM class with 52 high-engagement, critical thinking, problem-solving, NGSS-aligned challenges to take you through the entire year! Modifications are included to make these activities engaging and challenging for students in grades 2 - 8. (Note: Two of the 52 challenges are includ
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Back-to-School STEM / STEAM challenges are a great way to build community, establish procedures, and get to know how your kids tick! Plus, they’re a great intro to forces and interactions and Newton’s three laws of motion, which are part of 3rd, 5th grade and middle school NGSS standards! (3PS2-1, 5PS2-1, MS-PS2-1, and MS-PS2-2)

The basic premise:

Students work in partners or groups against criteria & constraints lists to design and build solutions to design challenges using symbols of the season: apples and school supplies! Modification suggestions are included to make these challenges engaging and productive for students in grades 2 - 8.

Bring the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!


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 leave me a question using the product Q&A below.


There are five STEM design challenges included in this bundle:
Back to School STEM Challenge: Apples Aloft 1:1 PAPERLESS
Back-to-School STEM Challenge: Apples Afar 1:1 PAPERLESS
Back-to-School STEM Challenge: Apple Annihilator 1:1 PAPERLESS
Back-to-School STEM Challenge: Apple Ally 1:1 PAPERLESS
Back-to-School STEM Challenge: Apples A-head 1:1 PAPERLESS


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.


Resource includes:

  • 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)
  • NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • Links to STEM Challenge How-To videos
  • Materials and timing
  • Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
  • Measuring results
  • Post-design extension activities list
  • Link to a video walk-through of each challenge

Student Slides

  • Criteria & Constraints List (editable version 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 forces & motion
  • 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.


Related Products:

Analyze and Interpret Data Unit

Back to School STEM Challenge Activities Bundle

Getting Started with STEM Challenges: FREEBIE

Halloween STEM Challenges: 5-in-1 Bundle_Paperless 1:1 Version

Planetopia Project STEM Challenge Bundle - PAPERLESS VERSION

Build a Boat STEM Challenge Mini Bundle - PAPERLESS

Summer / End of the Year STEM Challenge Bundle PAPERLESS

STEM Challenges: Year-Round Mega Bundle PAPERLESS VERSION


Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!


Total Pages
150 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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