Back to School STEM Challenge: Apple Annihilator 1:1 PAPERLESS

Rated 4.77 out of 5, based on 13 reviews
13 Ratings
Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
35 pages
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Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).
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  1. 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,
    Price $8.98Original Price $17.00Save $8.02
  2. 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
    Price $95.00Original Price $177.92Save $82.92
  3. This back-to-school STEM / STEAM Challenge brings the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)! Of course, this challenge is also great for any time in the fall when learning about apples and Johnny Appleseed!It's also a great intro to Newton’s T
    Price $4.98Original Price $7.00Save $2.02


This back-to-school STEM / STEAM Challenge brings the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!

This is a great intro to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which is part of 3rd and middle school NGSS standards! (3PS2-1, MS-PS2-1, and MS-PS2-2)

The basic premise:

Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build an apple wrecking ball built for annihilation!

• Students will set up marker “bowling pins” and try to knock down as many as possible using their apple wrecking ball designs.

Of course, this challenge is also great for any time in the fall when learning about apples and Johnny Appleseed!


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.


Resource includes:

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 the challenge

Student Slides

- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)

- Directions for setting up markers (optional printable version of guides included in teacher PDF)

- 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


Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )

– Set of markers (10)

• Markers will be used like bowling pins, so must stand on their own Crayola or broad highlighters work well

– Apple (1)

– Pocket folder with prongs (1)

• File folder or pocket folder without prongs may be substituted

– Small or medium binder clips (1 – 2)

– Unsharpened pencils (4 – 6)

– Tape (24 – 36 in.)

– String or yarn (36 – 48 in.)

– Ruler

– Scissors

– Design analysis handouts (included)

– Marker “bowling pin” handouts (included)


• Cardboard boxes, tubes, or scraps (helpful in building a support structure and base for the wrecking ball rather than attaching to desk/table)

• Craft sticks

• Pipe cleaners

• Dowels

• Rubber bands


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.


You might also like these resources:

STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):

Apples Aloft 1:1 PAPERLESS

Apples Afar 1:1 PAPERLESS

Back-to-School STEM Bundle

Summer STEM Bundle


Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE

Or these great resources:

Photosynthesis: Hands-on Modeling Activity

Analyze and Interpret Data Unit

Speak, Listen & Draw Task Cards


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


Total Pages
35 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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