Ferris Wheel STEM Challenge

Rated 5 out of 5, based on 7 reviews
7 Ratings
Grade Levels
6th - 12th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
12 pages


Challenge students to build a miniature Ferris wheel out of craft (Popsicle) sticks and hot glue! This activity is challenging but fun! Students must work together with a group, persist through issues, and must potentially deconstruct and reconstruct parts of their Ferris wheels multiple times.

The download contains a carnival-themed poster and directions for 6 groups. We suggest no more than 4 students to a group.

Required materials:

  1. Popsicle sticks - I buy the big boxes of 1000 (approx. $5)
  2. Dowels - Can be found at any craft store. Can also be substituted for a pencil if you don't mind losing pencils.
  3. Hot Glue - Typical warnings apply. Use your best judgement about allowing students to use hot glue, but it does allow them to break down their Ferris wheel and retry the challenge if they mess up, which will save you a bunch of Popsicle sticks.


  1. Allow students to have more or less time to increase rigor. (I allowed my 8th graders to have two 42 minute class periods to work.)
  2. Challenge students to make the lightest Ferris wheel. They'll be more sparing with the Popsicle sticks and hot glue! Anyone who completes the challenge is a winner, but a special prize can be given to the lightest structure.

Suggested Printing/Usage Instructions:

  1. Print double sided on card stock, or print in advance and laminate.
  2. Cut each poster into 4-5 puzzle pieces, let students pick a piece randomly, and then find their team mates by putting their puzzle together. The picture on the front will help students find their team, and they'll have the challenge on the back!

This is an extension of our Partners & Groups download.

This activity has been inspired by a blog post found here:


The author of the blog has their own TPT store. For a more detailed and paid version of the Ferris wheel activity:


Total Pages
12 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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