This tower building STEM / STEAM Challenges is perfect for summer – or any time of the year! It brings the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!
The basic premise:
Individually, or in partners/groups, students work against a criteria and constraints list to build a tower designed for height and/or stability. You can choose to run the challenge as a single 20-30 minute fun building task, or select from multiple options to add layers of depth and rigor. (Please see the downloadable preview to get an idea of your options.)
Modifications included for grades 2-8.
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.
*You will still need index cards or paper for the tower-building, but the students will complete their analysis and extensions using the Google Slides(TM) file. 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”/PD videos
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides Post-design extension activities list
- Criteria & Constraints List (two editable versions provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Class-wide Data Analysis Activity
- Graph Class Data
- Design Your Own Tower Experiment (with sample answers)
- Design Report
- Create Your Own Word Problems
- Process Flow Maps
The Valentine’s Day ">"Cards in the Clouds" version of this challenge is included as part of this purchase!
Please download the preview for sample pages, and feel free to contact me with any questions!
CLICK THE GREEN PREVIEW BUTTON UNDER THE COVER & THUMBNAILS TO SEE THE SLIDES INCLUDED IN THIS RESOURCE!
For each student or group:
– 20 or more 3x5 index cards (or substitute business cards, card stock, or poster board)
– Tape (constrain to 12 in. or less)
– Rulers/measuring tapes (tip: pick up paper measuring tapes from Ikea)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
– Optional: Scissors, pipe cleaners
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 ~60-90 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.
What do teachers have to say about this resource? Comments taken from the print version.
“Not only was the project fun, but the extensions were awesome as well!”
“My kids loved doing this. Very easy prep!”
“My kids loved this challenge and the materials were extremely helpful. I also really enjoyed watching your videos on the YouTube channel. Thanks for sharing your hard work. It has really helped me as a first year teacher!”
“Love, love your STEM products.”
“Excited to incorporate this activity into my next lesson! Awesome resource, user friendly, as well!”
You might also like these resources:
⭐ Plants STEM Challenge: PAPERLESS Version
⭐ Create-ure STEM Challenge: PAPERLESS VERSION
⭐ Earth Day STEM Challenge: New Earth City PAPERLESS VERSION
⭐ Characteristics of Living Things - Cells
⭐ Back to School STEM Challenge Bundle: 1:1 PAPERLESS Version
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!