STEM Christmas Activity: Elf Stuck on a Shelf Zip Line (Printed & Digital)

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
2nd - 9th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
26 pages
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Vivify STEM

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  1. Christmas STEM Activities Bundle! Grab this growing bundle of Christmas engineering activities to bring the holiday spirit to your classroom! The bundle includes activities for your Elf on the Shelf (or substitute character or paper cutout) plus additional engineering challenges! Science connections
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  2. Are you in need of year-round STEM activities? This growing bundle includes our most popular engineering design challenges (Stage 2) for middle school grades! Click here for more guidance on planning out a STEM class including a scope and sequence and example STEM curriculum map. 20% off individual
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  3. Are you in need of year-round STEM activities? This growing bundle includes our most popular engineering design challenges (Stage 2) for elementary! Activities are adaptable for kindergarten through 5th grade with guidance provided in the teacher notes. Need help with a STEM Curriculum Map? Click he
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Help an elf stuck on a shelf!

A fun Christmas STEM Challenge for the winter holidays! Students will design a zip line vehicle to save an elf from a high shelf. This hands-on activity is an engaging design challenge that allows students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect math topics to real-world applications. Students will design and a zip line to help rescue the Elf on the Shelf!

Updated for distance learning! Includes editable digital journal for Google Slides and Flipgrid along with take-home packets and a note to families.

Elf Stuck on the Shelf - Zipline Adventure STEM Activity Guide:

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • Student handouts to guide them through the design process
  • Student recording sheet for each step of the process
  • Editable digital STEM journal and note to families
  • Grading rubric
  • Math connection problems including angles, ratios, geometry, and graphing (in customary and metric units)

Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here:

About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or afterschool program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving whole-number exponents.
Apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.
Know and apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions. For example, 3² × (3⁻⁵) = (3⁻³) = 1/3³ = 1/27.
Use square root and cube root symbols to represent solutions to equations of the form 𝘹² = 𝘱 and 𝘹³ = 𝘱, where 𝘱 is a positive rational number. Evaluate square roots of small perfect squares and cube roots of small perfect cubes. Know that √2 is irrational.
Use numbers expressed in the form of a single digit times an integer power of 10 to estimate very large or very small quantities, and to express how many times as much one is than the other. For example, estimate the population of the United States as 3 × 10⁸ and the population of the world as 7 × 10⁹, and determine that the world population is more than 20 times larger.


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