Back-to-School STEM challenges are a great way to build community, establish procedures, and get to know how your kids tick!
Of course, this challenge is also great for any time in the fall when learning about apples and Johnny Appleseed!
The basic premise:
In groups, students will design and build a wearable device to balance an apple on their heads, which they will use to participate in an Apples A-head relay race.
– Students will design their headwear in groups, but each will make his/her own (to minimize any lice concerns). They can decide as a team, and based on available materials, if each member will create unique designs or replicate the team design.
*** CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO PREVIEW ***
Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity.
This challenge is available in the Back-to-School 5-in-1 STEM Challenge BUNDLE at a savings of 33% off the cost of buying each challenge separately. What a bargain! ☺
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- 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 at least ~ 60 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. I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
– Apple (1)
– Pencils (12 – 16)
– Rubber bands (10 – 20)
– Pocket folder with prongs (1)
• File folder or pocket folder without prongs may be substituted
– Pipe cleaners (10 - 12)
– Paper lunch bags (2 – 3)
– Tape (24 – 36 in.)
– String or yarn (24 – 36 in.)
– Stopwatch or second timer
– Design analysis handouts (included)
• Craft sticks
• Cardboard scraps
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Link to short video description this challenge coming: Aug. 18
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)
- Discussion Questions
- Apple-shaped writing template (see thumbnails or preview)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
Note: If you have purchased some of my non-holiday STEM challenges, this is a lighter – though not necessarily light – approach. Please download the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
You might also like these products:
Seasonal STEM Design Challenge 5-in-1 Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
Or these great products:
Getting Started with STEM Challenges Freebie
Photosynthesis: Hands-on Modeling Activity
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
New Earth City STEM Challenge
Card Towers STEM Challenge
Build a Boat STEM Challenge