STEM Challenge Crossing a Chasm Rescue

Rated 5 out of 5, based on 13 reviews
13 Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
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18 +editable
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Here’s another fantastic real-life STEM challenge featuring a rescue! It’s all about getting across a chasm! Your students will love the scenario of this challenge as they try to rescue pretend teammates that are stranded.

This challenge is available in a money-saving bundle!

What is the challenge?

In this challenge, students will be trying to build a device that will transport an object across a chasm. The scenario includes hiking and having a swinging bridge collapse making it necessary to transport some items across the ravine or chasm. The materials available for the rescue are only the items they might have had in their backpacks on the pretend hike. Finally, to make this really tricky, students have to make the device powered by the wind! Your class may have a lively discussion about why wind power would be necessary!

What is your prep?

You will need supplies in addition to this package. This includes paper clips, pipe cleaners, Copy paper, card stock, small cups, rubber bands, aluminum foil, ping pong balls, string or fishing line, fan, stopwatch, and plastic boxes (optional).

The package specifically includes:

  • cover
  • Teacher background
  • Materials and preparation page
  • 6 pages of teacher directions
  • Constraints list in poster form and a smaller version (with an ink saver page included)
  • 4 pages of photographs
  • Lab sheet
  • Scoring rubric
  • In addition, all forms are provided in an editable format. Student answer sheets are not included, but samples from student work are included in the teacher direction pages. The page count listed for this package includes everything.

This challenge works great with two more Real Life Challenges:

Or save money with the bundle!

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


You might also like these Real-Life Challenges:


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Total Pages
18 +editable
Answer Key
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device. Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.
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.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.
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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