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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 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.
This is one of five Halloween STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a 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.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
– 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)
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
- Criteria and Constraints list (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (editable; two sets & two versions: 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included for two different goals: length or length + weight held)
- Discussion Questions (editable)
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Bone Idioms activity template (editable)
- Bridge Idioms activity template (editable)
What are teachers saying about Bone Bridge?
“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!"
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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