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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 criteria and constraints list to design a device to catch as many “creatures” as possible.
If you aren't allowed to do Halloween activities, you can use this to start off a unit on spiders, food chains/webs, energy pyramids and more!
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!
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 45 – 60 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.
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group::
– Yarn, string, or twine (3 – 5 yards)
– Pipe Cleaners (4 – 6)
• plastic bugs, bats, spiders, etc. (one set per class or per testing station will do)
– ~12 x 12 in. mat or bucket
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
– Additions or substitutions for string:
• cable ties
– Coffee filters, foil, or paper (makes the challenge easier for younger students)
– Mix-ins (if adding increased-difficulty criterion for some objects to pass through the creature catcher)
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)
- Results and Design Analysis Handouts (editable; 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)
- Discussion Questions (editable)
- Process Flow Map
- Task card template (editable; 12 sample questions ranging age/skill level provided as well as editable versions and blank versions for students to create their own questions)
- Task card template for answer key (note: answers are not provided as questions will be generated based on student designs.)
What are teachers saying about Creature Catcher?
“This was a favorite for my students:)”
"I have adapted this for use with Kinders through 8th graders and they all loved it! Thanks for providing such a fun and useful resource!"
“Extremely thorough and well written! Can't wait for more of your STEM resources!”
“The students enjoyed the activity. The follow up questions were great.”
“My students had so much fun making the spider webs. Can't wait to do some more of the activities.” (Feedback from the Halloween 5-in-1 Bundle. )
“One of the best things I have ever purchased on TPT! It was awesome and still very educational! Kids loved having fun while learning! I am buying more STEM from her now!”
“My class LOVED this activity and enjoyed comparing their creature catchers. They were surprised by the different ways a group could be successful. Thank you for sharing.”
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