Groundhog Day STEM Activity
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Looking for Groundhog Day activities that are more than just an activity? This STEM / STEAM challenge will make you wonder why you ever though Groundhog Day wasn't worth celebrating!
The basic premise:
In groups, students will create groundhog shadows, searching for the perfect combinations of light source angles, distances, and even groundhog accessories to meet the specified shadow criteria & constraints. Shadows will be traced and and turned into street art/graffiti. (Includes modifications, grades 2-8.)
Be sure to check out the preview to get a sense of your extension options!
Note: This is the printable version. If you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you will want to check out the digital option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) instead.
If you have questions about which version is right for you, please feel free to leave me a question using the product Q&A below.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to a video walk-through of the challenge & my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Premise & Set-up
- Materials and timing
- Modifying Criteria & Constraints to adjust challenge difficulty
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list & links
- Two sizes of groundhog templates
- Two versions of editable data tables, including student-facing video instructions (~2 min. each) for both versions.
- Criteria and Constraints list (editable; in color and B&W)
- Design Analysis Handouts (editable; in color and B&W in two versions -- 4-page expanded room for response and 2-page condensed space version for older students)
- Discussion Questions (editable; in color and B&W)
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Links to "clean" real-world graffiti examples
- Shadow Mysteries activities (editable)
- 3 Mini Shadow Challenges (could be done instead of the main activity; editable)
- 3 Mini Shadow Labs: students use the scientific method to isolate and test shadow-making variables (editable; comes with sample answer keys)
- Graffiti writing templates
This is one of five challenges available in the Late Winter STEM Challenge bundle at a ~40% discount!
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. I’ve done the challenge with nothing more than newspaper, tape, and pipe cleaners and it worked well. However, as with all challenges, the more varied the materials, the more varied the designs!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
• Light source (flashlights or the flashlight app, if students have cell phones)
• Paper for shadow tracing (use butcher paper, poster board, or copy paper)
• Groundhog cutouts (included)
• Construction paper
• Craft sticks/Pipe Cleaners (4 – 6)
• For groundhog template handles and optional accessories
• Masking tape (~12 - 24 in.)
• Measuring Tape / Yard stick
• Protractors (if measuring light source angles)
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- High levels of student engagement
- The potential to hit upon all NGSS ETS standards depending on the depth and number of iterations you choose to implement in your classroom (modifications included)
- Highly flexible and differentiated for materials, timing, grade levels, and rigor.
Each design iteration should be planned for approximately 60 – 90 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.
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