Elementary STEM Space Lander Challenge

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
K - 5th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF (37 pages)
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Vivify STEM
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Updated for distance learning! Click here for an instructional video and digital and printed STEM journals.

**This is the K-5 Version of the popular Space Lander Challenge!**

Student teams build a lander using the Engineering Design Process to keep two "aliens" or "astronauts" inside a cup as it is dropped from various heights. Using straws, index cards, cotton balls, and other common materials, students apply concepts of shock-absorption, drag forces, and stability, to create and test designs. A twist at the end of the challenge helps students learn from their failures too!

This product has 3 options that connect students to real world STEM! Follow the story line by choosing between aliens, the Moon, or Mars as a theme. This product includes handouts describing the Apollo and Artemis missions to the Moon as well as the exploration and future of humans on Mars! This is the perfect way to connect to current events in space exploration.

This project is modified for grades K - 5. Find middle school version here.

As with many STEM activities that are student-driven, this challenge can be tailored to students of various skill levels and abilities. As one of our go-to STEM challenges, we have used the STEM Space Lander Challenge in elementary through high school levels with great success!

Included in this product:

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • STEM Career Connections
  • Real-world STEM history and science handouts
  • Student handouts to guide them through the engineering design process
  • Student recording sheet for each step of the process

Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here: bit.ly/VivifyResourceGuide

About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or after school program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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Total Pages
37 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 hours
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