This is a modified excerpt from STEM Design Challenge: Flower Frenzy.
Note: Flower Frenzy is also available in the Valentine’s Day 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Olympics Bundle (2nd – 8th).
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build one or more floating flowers.
Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity.
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- 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 at least 45 – 60 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. I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
– Colored tissue paper and/or construction paper (5+ pieces)
– Straws (5 - 10)
– Pipe cleaners (5 - 10)
– Plastic baggies (1-2)
– Tape (24 in.)
– Rubber bands (5 - 10)
– Bucket with water (to test floating flowers)
– Record results & analysis handouts
• Foil (1-2 small sheets)
• Craft sticks (5 – 10)
• Cardboard (scrap pieces, equally distributed to groups)
• Brass brads
• Small cups
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints List (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Criteria & Constraints List
- Results and Design Analysis (2 pages)
- Discussion Questions (2 pages)
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