This STEM Challenge / 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 version is for use with Google Slides in 1:1/paperless classrooms. If you prefer to print and have students complete work with paper/pencil, you'll want to look at the PRINTABLE VERSION 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.
This is one of five challenges available in the Late Winter STEM Challenge bundle at a ~40% discount!
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
Teacher Tips PDF
- Links to STEM Challenge how-to videos
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Two sizes of printable groundhog templates for shadow creation
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions-
- 2 Data Table Options (editable)
- Student-facing video directions
- Links to “clean” and controversial real-world graffiti examples
- Shadow Mysteries activity
- 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 template
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Video/website linked slides
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
• 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
- Helps students develop growth mindset traits like persistence and resilience
- 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 ~60-90 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. If you add extension activities, you will need to adjust timing accordingly.
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Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!