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Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity

Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
Christmas STEM Challenge: Candy Cane Calamity
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25 MB|24 pages
Product Description
Looking for a fun Christmas activity that involves science, technology, engineering, and/or math?

The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list individually or in partners, students will design and build a way to safely “mail” two candy canes in one paper bag package without breakage. (Note: cookies can be substituted for candy canes.)



This is one of five Winter / Christmas STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 40% discount:

Winter_Christmas 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Bundle (2nd – 8th)

This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!

Note: This product was updated Oct. 25, 2016. Be sure to re-download. :)


Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:

- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- 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 approximately 45 – 60 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.

Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.

Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

– Candy canes (2)
• Cookies can be substituted for candy canes
– Paper bag
– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
– Popsicle/craft sticks (5 – 10)
– Tape (12 in.)
– Scissors
– Scale (to measure weight criterion)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
– Optional:
• Tissue paper, coffee filters, or cotton balls
• Balloons
• String, cable ties
• Cardboard

Product includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Premise & Set-up
- Materials and timing
- Modifying Criteria & Constraints to adjust challenge difficulty
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list & links
- Link to a video walk-through of this challenge

Student Handouts
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (Two sets included: 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students)
- Discussion Questions

Extension templates
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension

What are teachers saying about Candy Cane Calamity?

“My students loved completing this challenge! They enjoyed the friendly competition in creating a package that would withstand the bumps and I appreciated the reflective pieces included to spark some meaningful conversation. Thanks!”

“This was so much fun!! It made our Christmas party memorable!!”

“Another easy to use STEM activity that my kids loved!”

“My students really loved this activity. It was a great real world issue for them to solve.”

“I can't wait to use this with my first graders! They love STEM and this is one project that is completely accessible to them. LOVE IT! :)”

You may also like these products:


Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle

Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Christmas Parts of Speech Activity (2nd – 3rd)

Graphing with Skittles Activity (2nd – 3rd)

Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Analyze and Interpret Data Unit

Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE
Total Pages
24 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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Kerry Tracy




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