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Searching for quick and easy challenges for your students? Here are seven engineering challenges that are all paper-based. Each challenge includes rules, and a list of the necessary materials and tools.
These are challenges I have used with my 6th grade students, and so I also include insider tips for every challenge. These tips provide insight into the challenges, and they clarify how to judge certain challenges. I do not provide these tips to my students ahead of the challenge, but I do often talk about them at the end of the class period.
My class periods are 49 minutes long, and so I typically gave students/partners 30 minutes to complete the challenge, which left 10-15 minutes to test/judge their creations. The time limit can easily be adjusted based on the length of your class periods, however, I don't recommend giving students more than 30 minutes because these challenges are relatively simple (rather than complex) and therefore don't require much time.
Looking for something a little more robust? Check out the Lego Zip Line challenge!