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 will be added by Feb. 1, 2018)
- 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.
You might also like these resources:
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!