Products in this Bundle (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 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 the tallest tower possible using symbols of the back-to-school season: apples and school supplies!
Note: This resource includes both the printable version and the paperless option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) for 1:1 / paperless classroom.
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
Handouts & Google Slides(TM) Options for Student Recording & Reflecting
- 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) (editable and in color and black & white)
- Discussion Questions (editable and in color and black & white)
- Process Flow Map
- Create Math Problems Based on Designs
- Worksheet: Estimate and measure distances in the classroom and around the school in Apples Aloft towers (two versions plus editable versions provided)
- Optional secondary challenge (Apple Abater) with Criteria & Constraints List and Design Analysis handouts
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
- Small apple (1)
- Unsharpened pencils (6 - 12)
- Rubber bands (5)
- Pocket folder with prongs (1)
- File folder or pocket folder without prongs may be substituted
- Index cards (5 – 10)
- Tape (12 – 24 in.)
- Paper lunch bags (1 – 2)
- Ruler or measuring tape (for measuring, not a building material)
- Design analysis handouts (included)
- Markers or highlighters
- Pipe cleaners
- Notebook paper
- String or yarn
- Glue sticks
What do teachers have to say about this resource?
“My students were very engaged in this project. It provided a great team-building activity for the first days of school. Thanks!”
“What a great way to see your students' personalities! This was way too much fun for all!”
“This was a great product to introduce my class to STEM activities at the beginning of the year. It was simple, fun, and challenging.”
"This was SO MUCH FUN!!! I teach 4-8 special education and one of my students said, "This is the best school day ever!" when we finished the activity. Thank you!"
"So much fun! Again, I used it in our after school CLC program with 5-11 year old. All had fun!"
"This was great! I have students from 5th grade to 8th grade and all just loved it."
"Awesome STEM challenge! Perfect for the first week of school or back to school from a break. Thank you!"
"Did this today! The kids ABSOLUTELY loved it and I loved that I was able to pick and choose what I needed to include!"