In a curriculum that is constantly asking us to "dig deeper" and "get it all in," I was looking for a way to make sure that my technology and engineering tasks were still connecting in the literature units that we were completing in class. When I looked at the technology and engineering standards that Indiana has placed in their mix of state and Common Core standards, I found that STEM activities were easily incorporated when using the setting of the literature we were reading.
This STEM challenge is building a tower, using only paper based "trash" items, that will hold a doll/stuffed animal for a set amount of time. Students go through the design loop process and create a prototype and test their work, to see if improvements and adjustments need to be made.
Included in this specific activity are tips for the teacher, a copy of the design loop, the lab form for students to fill out and use as they construct their tower and collaborate with their fellow engineers, as well as a rubric for assessing their progress (not necessarily their result). Pictures of how this project was completed in my classroom are also provided.