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Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
50 pages
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Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
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  3. 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 t
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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.

Modifications included for grades 2-8.


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.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to”/PD videos
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides Post-design extension activities list

Student Slides
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions

Extension slides
- 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 - PAPERLESS VERSION
STEM Challenges: Year-Round Mega Bundle PAPERLESS VERSION
The Ultimate STEM Challenge Mega Bundle


Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)

• 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


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.


You might also like these resources:
Plants STEM Challenge: PAPERLESS Version
Create-ure STEM Challenge: PAPERLESS VERSION
Earth Day STEM Challenge: New Earth City PAPERLESS VERSION
Characteristics of Living Things - Cells
Back to School STEM Challenge Bundle: 1:1 PAPERLESS Version

Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
Total Pages
50 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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