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:
Working individually or with a partner against a criteria and constraints list, students design and engineer a new set of bat wings, with the goal being to achieve maximum flight distance and/or accuracy. You can even throw in style points, if you like! It's a paper airplane challenge with a twist!
This is great for Halloween or just connected to a unit on bats (especially if your school frowns on Halloween activities)!
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.
*While all the student record & reflection work is done in Google Slides, students will need paper to create their designs for this challenge. 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
Halloween Paperless STEM Challenge Bundle
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
- Video/website linked pages
- Bat writing slide
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
– Bat Body copies (this is the only paper needed in the challenge. Templates are included (see preview for details)
– Tapes measure
– Optional: tape, notebook paper
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
“Easy to implement engineering project- great to keep kids engaged before Halloween!”
"GREAT activity! Bought this to use as a "pop-in parent" activity in a 2nd and 4th grade classroom - it worked so well I'm going to use it in my adult education classroom too! Very adaptable for differentiation!"
“Challenging and engaging”
“LOVE! I add in STEM every day - my students had a blast with the Bat Planes. I appreciate the detail and thought that went into these packets. AWESOME RESOURCE!!” (feedback left in the Halloween 5-in-1 Bundle)
“The students loved it!”
You might also like these resources:
Back-to-School STEM Bundle
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Twilight Zone Plot Diagram, Summary, and Writing Activities (5th– 8th)
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Speak, Listen & Draw Task Cards
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!