Christmas STEM Challenge and Winter Holidays Activity for Middle School

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STEM in the Middle
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  • Google Apps™
24 pages
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STEM in the Middle
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).
Easel Activity Included
This resource includes a ready-to-use interactive activity students can complete on any device.  Easel by TPT is free to use! Learn more.

What educators are saying

I love this before break! My class numbers start to shrink so this was a great chance for the rest of us to play constructively.
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Are you looking for the perfect Christmas STEM challenge to keep your students engaged before the winter holidays? Check out this exciting engineering design challenge that is sure to keep your students' on-task and learning up to the winter break.

In this middle school Christmas STEM challenge, students will use simple materials and the engineering design process to design and build a package that will protect a cookie as it travels through the mail. First, students will discover the problem and project criteria and constraints. Then they'll design and create their own protective packaging using simple materials. Next, the class will simulate sending the packages through the mail by shaking, throwing, and dropping the cookie packages. Last, students will open their packages and observe their cookies for cracks and crumbles to determine the success of their design. Through this process, students will use the middle school engineering practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards.

Grab this Christmas STEM challenge today so you can take a break from planning and know your students will still be learning and having fun as you count down to the much-needed break for the winter holidays!


What’s included in the Christmas STEM Challenge?

  • Detailed teacher notes that include suggestions for differentiating and facilitating the project
  • PDF, Google, and Easel versions of the student project packets
  • Embedded links for background research
  • A slideshow to assist with lesson facilitation
  • End-of-project celebration certificates
  • Easy-to-use grading rubric

Materials needed:

  • A printed or digital copy of the student project packet
  • The building materials for this project are flexible! You can use whatever you have available, such as paper, straws, tape, cardboard, paper towel rolls, etc.
  • Rulers for measuring the size of their cookie delivery packages
  • Cookies, crackers, or another small, breakable food item for testing out their design


What are other teachers saying?


“So excited to use this! I teach Intro to Engineering and this is perfect for the holiday season!” - Pamela Z.


How can this winter holidays activity be used in your classroom?

  • Keep students learning and engaged throughout the weather changes and excitement that comes with the winter holidays
  • Embrace the holiday spirit with a Christmas STEM challenge
  • Use the challenge to keep students on task when you have unusual schedules or low attendance due to field trips, testing, assemblies, or other interruptions
  • Give your students practice with problem-solving using the engineering design process
  • Introduce real-world STEM disciplines and professions
  • Give students an opportunity to develop their 21st-century skills, such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking
  • Assign the resource for extra credit, a holiday break packet, or an extension activity



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Total Pages
24 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


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