Landforms STEM Challenge

Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challengeplay
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
Landforms STEM Challenge
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8 MB|50 pages
Also included in:
  1. If your science standards include landforms, plate tectonics, the water cycle, weather, natural disasters, plant parts, plant cells, animal cells, life cycles, and/or heredity & genetics, Planetopia Project STEM Challenges are perfect to engage your students in brain-busting work (disguised as f
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  2. Super-charge your STEM class with 52 high-engagement, critical thinking, problem-solving, NGSS-aligned challenges to take you through the entire year! Modifications are included to make these activities engaging and challenging for students in grades 2 - 8. (Two of the 52 challenges are included in
    Save $96.91
Product Description

If you’re looking to apply learning in landforms, weathering & erosion, plate tectonics & more, this STEM / STEAM challenge is a perfectly engaging way to get the job done joyfully!

The basic premise:

Students work individually or in partners/groups against a list of criteria and constraints to create the nonliving surface (geosphere & hydrosphere) of the fictional planet, Planetopia.


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.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • 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

Student Handouts

  • Criteria and Constraints list (two editable versions in color and B&W)
  • Design Analysis Handouts (in color and B&W in two versions: 4-page expanded room for response and 2-page condensed space version for older students)
  • Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)

Extension templates

  • Planetopia Surface Features Spotlight
  • Layers of Earth
  • Layers of Earth & Earth’s Atmosphere
  • Rock Notes
  • Rock Cycle
  • Pangaea Activity
  • Process flow map
  • Create & solve math problems based on designs
  • Planetopia Landforms Writing Templates


This resource is also available in the following discounted bundles:

Planetopia Project STEM Challenge Bundle
STEM Challenges: Year-Round Mega Bundle
The Ultimate STEM Challenge Mega Bundle


Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. You can select a subset of the materials below and/or add your own ideas. As with all challenges, the more varied the materials, the more varied the designs!

Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

  • Foam board for parcel base (~ 12x12 in. per student)
  • Construction paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Cardboard scraps
  • Tissue paper
  • Foil
  • Scissors
  • Glue and/or tape
  • Small rocks
  • Raffia, moss, yarn
  • Cotton


  • Crayola Model Magic or clay
  • Sequins, beans, pasta, beads
  • Paint
  • Craft sticks
  • Plastic beads
  • Pom poms
  • Felt or fabric scraps
  • Sand Paper
  • Small cups and/or bowls
  • Hot glue gun
  • Rubber bands
  • Paperclips
  • Toothpicks
  • Coffee stirrers
  • Colored sand


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Plants STEM Challenge


Video preview music credit:

"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Total Pages
50 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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Kerry Tracy

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