Force and Motion STEM Carnival

Grade Levels
3rd, 4th
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4.11 MB   |   21 pages


With the force and motion STEM carnival, students will apply scientific principles of force and motion to engineer carnival games.

-26 engineering design task cards (examples include: catapult basketball, lid hockey, skee ball, magnet claw, car race, cotton ball launch, and more!
-planning sheet for students to record the rules and object of their game
-science vocab page for students to make connections between their game and the scientific vocabulary (force, motion, energy, magnets, and more!)
-rubric in two sizes

All of the carnival games can be designed with basic home and classroom materials such as lids, popsicle sticks, cardboard, plastic cups, etc… Material ideas are included for each task card, and a list to send home to parents to collect recyclables is also included.

How to Use this Activity:
There are many ways that you may use this. You could have a whole class challenge, where all students create their own carnival arcade game. It could be a partner or group project. If you choose to do groups, I recommend no more than three students per group. You could also keep this as a center where each week is a new design challenge. This would also make a great ‘STEM Partners’ activity if you pair your students with a class of younger students.

About the Challenges:
The design challenges are open-ended on purpose for several reasons. First, students always amaze us with what they come up with when left to their own devices. Second, the open-ended nature allows for much more critical thinking and creative problem solving. We are not telling students what to do to create the game. Instead, we give them simple guidelines and let them do the rest.

I have included 26 design challenges. You may decide to let students choose their challenge, or you may assign them based on your materials available. If you have students who want to come up with their own challenge that addresses the force and motion standards, by all means, allow them to do so! I included a “Create Your Own” card for that. You may choose to have students get your approval on a particular project. first.

Extension Ideas:
-You may have seen the videos about Caine’s arcade: You could watch the videos and create your own class carnival.
-Have students make signs that show the name of the game, rules, price, etc…
-Create a class currency or tokens, and have students take turns spending money at the different carnival games.
-Invite other classes to come in and play.
-Have students come up with prizes for the winners.
-Have students design a sign and advertisement to encourage others to come and play their game.

The following NGSS standards are addressed implicitly:
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
NGSS 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
NGSS 3-PS2-2.Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
3-PS2-3. Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
3-PS2-4. Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas about magnets.

Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-1.Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2.Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-5-ETS1-3.Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

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Force and Motion STEM Carnival
Force and Motion STEM Carnival
Force and Motion STEM Carnival
Force and Motion STEM Carnival