STEM Activity Challenge Build a Flood Barrier

Grade Levels
4th, 5th, 6th
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3.91 MB   |   24 pages


STEM Engineering Challenge: This is another challenge that features experimenting first and then designing using the experiment data to make decisions!

Note: This challenge can be purchased in a money-saving bundle!

This challenge is to experiment with absorbent materials to try to find the one that absorbs the most water. Then students are challenged to use available items to build a barrier that will slow or stop the flow of water. One of the building items can be the absorbent material the team found to be the best. The rest of the materials are just things you gather that they can use to build a barrier. The barrier is built inside a pan and when the team is ready you will pour two cups of water into the pan to see if the barrier works. The tricky part to this challenge is that the house is made of paper! So, the barrier better work! The scenario we used for this challenge was to build a barrier to protect a doghouse! In addition to the experiment and building of the barrier, students will also work with a budget feature for the task. The building items will be priced and students will choose these while staying within a given budget. The cost sheet we used is provided, as well as an editable cost sheet in case you need to change the building items and/or prices.

Materials you will need in addition to this package include: 5-6 different items to test for absorbency (like cotton balls and sponges), Styrofoam cups, Graduated cylinders, Dishpans or aluminum trays, Stopwatches, Craft sticks, Straws, Paper clips, Rubber bands, and Masking tape. Optional building materials include sand, modeling dough, or clay.

This package specifically contains: Cover page, Teacher Background page, Table of Contents, Materials and Preparation page, 3 pages of Teacher Directions applicable to the experiment portion of the task, 3 pages of Teacher Directions for the building portion of the task, Student lab sheets, Cost sheet for the building portion (students follow a budget), an editable cost sheet, 4 pages of helpful hints, 5 pages of Photos, and a Terms of Use page. The teacher direction pages include photos and samples of student work.

NOTE: A Video of our Barrier Building experience can be viewed: Flood Barriers

This challenge works perfectly with two other Experiment and Design events!
STEM Challenge Bungee Jumping
STEM Challenge Building Ramps

All three Experiment and Design Challenges can be purchased in a money-saving bundle:
STEM Bundle Experiment and Design

Or, even better this challenge can be found in a money-saving 6-Pack!
STEM Challenges 6-Pack Bundle featuring Real Life Adventures

You might also enjoy these STEM Challenges:

STEM Challenge: Bucket Towers
STEM Challenge: Straw Hoop Flyers
STEM Challenge Build a Hammock
STEM Challenge Tennis Ball Towers

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STEM Activity Challenge Build a Flood Barrier
STEM Activity Challenge Build a Flood Barrier
STEM Activity Challenge Build a Flood Barrier
STEM Activity Challenge Build a Flood Barrier
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