STEM Activity Ferris Wheel Challenge

Rated 4.84 out of 5, based on 323 reviews
323 Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
4th - 6th
Formats Included
  • Zip
25 pages
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Do your students need activities with many problems to solve? This challenge features engineering symmetrical sides of a wheel that will turn freely. It is challenging, but oh so fun! Your upper elementary students will love this event.

Note: This challenge is available in money-saving bundles.

What is the challenge?

In this challenge, students will be using craft sticks and glue to make a spinning Ferris Wheel. The wheel has two sides and students must be diligent in making the sides match in size. In addition, the two sides must be joined together and space left in the centers to add a central turning rod or axle. Add making a frame to hold the wheel aloft and you have a truly spectacular STEM challenge.

Students will use the steps of the Engineering Design Process as you follow the pages of detailed and labeled teacher directions pages.

This challenge is from my STEM by the Month collection.

What is your prep?

You will need supplies in addition to this package. This includes craft sticks, dowel sticks (3/16 to1/4 inch diameter), hot glue guns and glue, and masking tape. This challenge can be completed using only masking tape.

The package specifically includes:

  • Cover
  • Teacher background
  • Materials and preparation page
  • 8 pages of teacher directions
  • Constraints list
  • 3 pages of photographs
  • Extra Hints page
  • Student lab sheet – with sample answers
  • Extra page of Ferris wheel information
  • Scoring rubric
  • Terms of Use page.
  • All forms are provided in an editable format!

This challenge will need 1-2 class sessions (1-2 hours) to complete.

What are teachers saying?

  • "The STEM students had fun creating this. The pictures were useful after they had a chance to design their own and test theirs out. We have 45 minutes and this project took two classes because they didn't want to stop building! Thanks!"
  • "I used this as a STEM challenge during an after-school program. The students were very challenged, as one of the most important aspects is making the sides exactly symmetrical. This was age-appropriate, and ended up working well for kids that didn't give up!"
  • "One of my best purchases this year! We finished reading the book Tuck Everlasting and I used this stem challenge as a culminating activity. They had to also write how the wheel is a metaphor for life. My 5th graders stated it was one of the favorite memories from the school year. Thank you!"

This challenge works perfectly with another summer fun challenge:

Or save money and grab the Amusement Park Bundle!

I also have a nonfiction reading set that will work perfectly with this challenge:


You might also like these STEM Challenges:

You might also be interested in my catalog: STEM and Science Posters Catalog


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Total Pages
25 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


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