This 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.
*** CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO PREVIEW ***
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 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 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 Handouts Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Criteria & Constraints List (two levels of difficulty provided in color and black & white; editable version included)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) (color and black & white)
- Necessities vs. Niceties for Apartments (editable)
- Sample furniture /appliances measurements (in., cm, & blank -- editable)
- Furniture information sheet (record details of design for presentation)
- Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)
- Inventor Research Notes Template (editable)
- Studio Apartment Floor Plan
- Investor Pitch Planning (editable)
- Pitch Audience Notes Template (editable)
- Pitch Investor Checkbook (editable)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
CLICK THE GREEN PREVIEW BUTTON UNDER THE COVER & THUMBNAILS TO SEE THE PAGES INCLUDED IN THIS RESOURCE!
This is one of five challenges available in the Late Winter STEM Challenge bundle at a ~40% discount!
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.)
– 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!
Video preview music credit:
"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License