Earth Science STEM Challenges Bundle!
This resource is part of the Earth Science (Entire) Curriculum
These resources has science, technology, engineering, and measurement activities to do with your upper elementary kids that will really enhance their learning!
This bundle contains 9 StudentSavvy STEM Resources! Photosynthesis, Ecosystems, Rock Cycle, Biomes, Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, Energy, Earth's Cycles, and Weather STEM Challenges!
Watch a video of the challenges in action here!
There are 15 STEM Challenges in this pack.
Each STEM Challenge has detailed directions, photo examples, a list of materials needed, prediction section, brainstorming section, trials 1, 2, & 3, final results section with drawings, and a reflection section.
The STEM Challenges include:
Biomes STEM Challenge
-Biomes Survival Challenge!
The STEM group of students must first decide on a plush or plastic animal to bring to school. They must also decide on a specific biome that the animal is going to survive in. The animal they choose for this challenge may not already have adaptations suited for the chosen biome. The students must come up with at least 4 different adaptations for their animal. Using a list of materials, the group must transform their animal so it is better suited for the new environment it will survive in. The group must also create a poster that describes each adaptation and why they chose it for their animal. They have 3 days to complete this challenge. More directions are found in this resource!
Ecosystems STEM Challenge
Food Web Marble Maze Challenge!
The assigned STEM group must first choose a biome or type of ecosystem. (ex: Tundra, Grassland, Forest) Using the materials below, students must create a marble run that features different levels of the food web. They must include a producer, a primary consumer, secondary consumer, and a tertiary consumer. There can be more than one of each type of consumer, but there must be at least one of every level. The marble maze must direct the ball going up the various interlocking paths along the food web. Animals and consumer types must be labeled in their design. Drawings, computer clipart, or figurines can be used.
Weather STEM Challenges
Using a list of supplies, students must design a type of barometer that measures changes in the atmospheric pressure. Their design must have a needle that measures an increase or decrease in air pressure. Students must use the items listed below and they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. They have one hour to design their barometer. (time testing their barometer does not count towards the hour). In order to test, the barometer should be placed outside or by a window.
Using a list of supplies, students must design an anemometer that accurately measures wind speed. They must be able to measure how many spins the device makes per minute by marking one of the revolving cups. Students do not have to use all the materials listed below but they cannot add items to the list. They have one hour to complete this challenge. (time testing their anemometer does not count towards the hour). In order to test, the anemometer should be placed outside on a windy day or can be tested with a fan.
Energy STEM Challenges
-Marble Run Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must design a marble run that showcases both kinetic and potential energy at use. Students must be able to label which parts of their marble run shows the energy transfer. Students are not required to use all of the items listed below but they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. They have two days to finalize their roller coaster/marble run.
- Solar Oven Challenge
Using a list of supplies, students must a solar oven that captures sunlight and retains heat. The solar oven should be able to melt crayons within an hour. Students are not required to use all of the items listed below but they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. Students have one hour to finalize the design of their solar oven. (The time it takes to test their design does not count towards the one hour) The group that is able to melt the crayons the fastest wins the challenge!
Plate Tectonics STEM Challenges
- Seismograph Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must design a seismograph that can record movement or shaking. The seismograph must have a base, a hanging weight, and a frame. The paper that the seismic waves are recorded on must be able to be pulled through the device so new data can be recorded. The P and S waves must be labeled in their data. Students have 2 hours to complete this challenge. If they test their seismograph and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. (Testing time does not count towards the two hour time limit)
-Earthquake-Resistant Bridge Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must construct a bridge that can withstand a major earthquake. The structure must be flexible enough so it can absorb the shaking, but not fall apart. The bridge must have a base made up of cups that can be shaken to show its flexibility. The bridge cannot be longer than 20 inches. Students have 2 hours to complete this challenge. If they test their bridge and it falls apart, they have two more attempts to fix their design. (Testing time does not count towards the two hour time limit) After all the groups have created their bridges, they must prove how their design is the most earthquake-resistant. The group with the best design wins the challenge!
Rock Cycle STEM Challenges
-Rock Cycle Crayon Challenge!
Students must demonstrate the rock cycle and the different rock formations that occur during the process. All three types of rock must be present in the cycle. Students must save a small sample of rock during each phase and it must be labeled which type it is. STEM groups have three trials to complete the challenge.. They must complete the challenge in 75 minutes.
- Weathering and Erosion Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must demonstrate how weathering and erosion affects our landscape. They must build four rock cliffs using sugar cubes and decide on different weathering and erosion strategies for each rock cliff (one strategy per rock cliff). A strategy can be a combination of wind and rain effects or another way to break down the rocks. They must describe and label each strategy they came up with. (Ex: 10 drops of water and 5 seconds of shaking in plastic container – rain and wind) The goal is to find a wide variety of results from different weathering and erosion strategies. They have one hour to complete this challenge.
Photosynthesis STEM Challenges
- Building a Greenhouse Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must design a greenhouse that can hold at least 4 small plants. Each plant must be protected from weather elements and pests. The greenhouse cannot be larger than 18 inches long and 15 inches tall. There must be a door on the greenhouse that can swing open and shut for watering. The greenhouse must be able to shield the plants from excess cold or heat. Each STEM group must a matching set of plants that are the control group (placed outside) to compare with the plants inside the greenhouse. Students have three days to complete this challenge.
- Capillary Action Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must demonstrate how water moves through plants. They must build a plant with the materials and label where capillary action, root pressure, and transpiration are demonstrated in their design. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. Students have 75 minutes to finalize the design of their plant. (The time it takes for capillary action to take place does not count towards their time designing)
Volcanoes STEM Challenges
- Erupting Volcanoes Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, STEM groups must design three volcanoes: a composite volcano, a cinder cone volcano, and a shield volcano. They must create mixtures that represent each type of volcanic eruption from the three volcanoes (3 mixtures - more information provided in the resource). Students must also figure out the correct steps of combining the ingredients to create the best eruption. After reading the previous page (informational page provided in the resource) on types of volcanic landforms, their eruptions must mimic the description of each volcano. Students must document the amounts of each ingredient used on the 3 volcanoes and write down the best mixture for each of the 3 volcano types. Students have three days to complete this challenge.
- Flowing Lava Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must create the three different types of lava: basaltic, andesitic, and rhyolitic lava. Using the information page (found in the resource), STEM groups must decide on three different mixtures that most accurately represents each of the three types of flowing lava. The viscosity of the lava must also be considered in their models. Using a sheet pan, the three types of lava must be poured at the same time to show the difference of flow. Students have 75 minutes to complete this challenge.
Earth’s Cycles - Water STEM Challenges
Water Cycle Challenge!
Using a list of supplies, students must create a device that demonstrates each phase of the water cycle. Using the infographic provided in the resource, students must decide how to create such a device without guided instruction. They must be able to view each phase of the water cycle and take notes of their observations. They have 75 minutes to complete this challenge. They can have up to three trials to create the device. More directions are found in this resource!
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