Looking for a fun Christmas or winter activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and/or math? Christmas-Winter STEM / STEAM Challenges are the perfect activities because they engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list, each student will design and build reindeer antlers. Students are then grouped for a reindeer relay race in which they use their antlers to transport and hand-off Christmas decorations.
– To save time, have each student build just one antler. During the relay race, they will share with their teammates so each person “running” will have two antlers to hold on their head.
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 at a 40% discount in the Christmas/Winter STEM Bundle.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to STEM Challenge how-to videos
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Website linked slides for Arctic and Antarctic Animals
- Arctic/Antarctic Animal Riddle Template
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )
• For each student:
– Pipe cleaners (10 – 15 or less if building only one antler)
– Popsicle/craft sticks (10 – 15 or less if building only one antler)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
• For each group
– Christmas decorations (10 – 15 mixed pieces per group)
• Ornaments (plastic), tinsel, bows, ribbon, garland, etc.
– Rubber bands
– Glue gun
– Timers/Stopwatches (for relay race)
– Cones or sidewalk chalk (for relay race markers)
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?
Note: Comments taken from the print version
“This was our second Stem Challenge of yours and we loved it! It was used in an SDC 3rd/4th classroom. They loved creating their antlers and the relay race. Thank you!”
“My students love when I pull STEM activities into the classroom, and I love the teambuilding aspect of it. Win win!”
“This is one of the best activities I've ever paid for here on TPT. My students LOVED LOVED LOVED this and we had great discussions about design thinking.”
“My students had a blast with this one!”
You might also like these resources:
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle
Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!