This STEM Challenge was created as a way to celebrate Black History Month and/or Women’s History Month in science class. The premise is inspired by Sarah E. Goode’s 1885 invention of the folding cabinet bed. She was one of the first African-American women to obtain a patent for her invention!
The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list in groups, students will design and build multi-functional furniture, or furnish an entire apartment.
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.
This is one of five challenges available in the Late Winter STEM Challenge bundle at a ~40% discount!
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Criteria & Constraints List (two levels of difficulty provided; editable)
- Design Analysis
- Necessities vs. Niceties for Apartments
- Sample reference furniture /appliances measurements (in., cm, & blank/editable)
- Furniture information Slide (record details of design for presentation)
- Discussion Questions
- Inventor Research Notes
- Studio Apartment Floor Plan (with clip art)
- Investor Pitch Planning
- Pitch Audience Notes Template
- Pitch Investor Checkbook
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
CLICK THE GREEN PREVIEW BUTTON UNDER THE COVER & THUMBNAILS TO SEE THE SLIDES INCLUDED IN THIS RESOURCE!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
– Card stock or index cards
– Cardboard scraps
– String (12 – 24 in.)
– Craft sticks (4-8)
– Pipe cleaners (5-10)
– Masking tape (12 – 24 in.)
• Cereal/tissue boxes
• Construction paper
• Rubber bands
• Single hole punch
• Paperclips, binder clips, and/or brass brads
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 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):
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
MLK Writing Prompts
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE
Please check out the video preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!