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Looking for a fun Halloween activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and/or math? Halloween STEM / STEAM Challenges are collaborative, brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The basic premise:
Students work in partners or groups against a list of criteria and constraints to build the longest “bone” bridge possible.
This challenge goes beyond Halloween! Connect this to the skeletal system, bridges/transportation, and/or forces (specific ideas included).
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 at a 40% discount in the
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- 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
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Bone Idioms activity template
- Bridge Idioms activity template
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
– Q-tips (30 - 50)
– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
– Popsicle/craft sticks (5 - 10)
– Penny (to measure gap constraint)
– Rulers/measuring tapes (tip: pick up paper measuring tapes from Ikea)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
• Tape, cable ties
• Candy pumpkins or base-ten blocks for weights (if weight/capacity criterion is used)
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.
What do teachers have to say about this resource?
Note: Comments taken from the print version.
“The class had so much fun with this challenge! When we started putting weights on each bridge they were cheering so loud other teachers had to come see what was happening.”
“I love the optional extensions and discussion questions! That will help me differentiate for my high functioning students.”
“Another great STEM challenge to add to my curriculum! Well done!”
“Used the Bone Bridge for my evaluation lesson! Went great and the kids loved it!” (feedback left in the Halloween 5-in-1 Bundle)
“This was perfect! Much more challenging than the students expected!”
"Love it! I hate giving up an instructional day for Halloween. This is a challenge and a great use of time on an otherwise crazy day. Thank you!"
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Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!