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 of year, but especially in the fall when learning about apples, Johnny Appleseed, or Sir Isaac Newton!
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a cantilever to suspend an apple as far away from a desk’s edge as possible.
Note: This is the printable version. If you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you will want to check out the digital option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) 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.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- 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
- Criteria & Constraints List (color and black & white; editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) (color and black & white)
- Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)
- Process Flow Map
- Create Math Problems Based on Designs
- Worksheet: Measure the cantilever span distance in standard and non-standard units (editable version provided)
- Worksheet: Convert span distance from customary (in.) to metric (cm) and then from cm to other metric units of measurement (editable version provided)
This is one of five challenges available at a discount in the Back-to-School STEM Challenge Bundle
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
- Small apple (1)
- >>>> Use very small apples. For younger students, you may prefer to not use the apple at all
- Unsharpened pencils (5 – 10)
- Rubber bands (5 – 10)
- Pocket folder with prongs (1)
- >>>>File folder or pocket folder without prongs may be substituted
- Tape (one roll of masking tape)
- String or yarn (36 – 48 in.)
- Medium and/or large binders clips (2 - 4)
- Paper lunch bag (1)
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Desk or table
- >>>>Devices can also be built from counters, but a desk or table offers more options to create tie-downs and ways to secure the devices.
- Design analysis handouts (included)
- Craft sticks
- Pipe cleaners
- Paper clips
- Single hole punch
- An extra ruler with which to build
You might also like these resources:
⭐ Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
⭐ Back to School Ice Breaker Activity
⭐ Back to School STEM Challenge Activities: 1:1 PAPERLESS Version
⭐ Build a Boat STEM Challenge Mini Bundle
⭐ Card Tower STEM Challenge Mini Bundle
⭐ Halloween STEM Challenge Bundle
⭐ Oral and Written Communication Skills Task Cards
⭐ STEM Challenges: Year-Round Mega Bundle
⭐ Summer / End of the Year STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Please check out the video preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
Video preview music credit:
"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License