Looking for Valentine’s Day activities that your students will love but are more than just a craft or activity to pass the time? This Valentine’s STEM Challenge (or STEAM Challenge) will keep your students engaged in brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a uniquely talented bouquet of flowers! This STEM challenge actually contains four challenge prompts that can be taken separately or simultaneously in groups:
– Floating Flowers
– Fluff & Flatten Flowers
– Functional Flowers
– Firmly Fixed Flowers
I will never apologize for my love of alliterative titles. ☺
Note: Although it is part of the Valentine’s Day bundle, this challenge works well for spring, Easter, and Mother’s Day as well.
Note: This is the printable version. If you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you will want to check out the digital option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) instead.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Handouts Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Four Criteria & Constraints lists for four flower frenzy challenges (editable versions in color and black & white provided)
- Results and Design Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included in color and black & white; editable)
- Discussion Questions (editable)
- Scientific Method - Design your own plant growth experiment handouts with sample answer key (editable)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
This is one of five challenges available in the Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge bundle at a 40% discount!
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)
– 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
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- Helps students develop growth mindset traits like persistence and resilience
- 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 ~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.
What do teachers have to say about this resource?
“Thorough resource, perfect for spring!”
“Perfect resource for spring! We turned our flowers into a Mother's Day gift.”
“Awesome. As usual.”
“Kids loved these activities! Thank you.”
You might also like these resources:
STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
Please check out the video preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
Video preview music credit:
"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License