STEM Design Challenge: Build a Boat

Grade Levels
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
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File Type
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55.44 MB   |   65 pages

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The basic premise:
Students work against a list of criteria and constraints to build a boat that is designed to meet fundamental criteria for capacity and/or speed. You can choose to run the challenge as a single 20-30 minute fun building task to do on a rainy day, or select from multiple options to add depth and rigor, extending the activity to a full-blown unit of study. (Please see the downloadable preview to get an idea of your options.)

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. Detail on how to modify to add/reduce rigor and complexity is provided in the teacher guide.

*** CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO PREVIEW OF THE MINI MAYFLOWER VERSION (included in this boat building resource)***
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This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at a great discount!

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Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity. Each iteration should be planned for approximately 45 – 60 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. I prefer to work on STEM Design Challenges in 3-4 iterations spanning a month. (More detail is included in the Teacher Guide.)

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Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.

Sample/suggested materials:
At least one per class, if not one per student or group:
– Container filled with water to test the boats (be sure to choose a container with appropriate dimensions, or constrain students on length, width, height accordingly).
– Set of uniform objects to measure capacity (pennies, base-ten blocks, paperclips, balance weights, bouncy balls, etc.)
For each student or group:
– Clay, foil sheets, and/or 3x5 cards
– Tape (masking tape or packing tape perform best, constrain to 12 in. or less)
– Scissors
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Product includes:

Quick Start / Low Prep Guide with handouts
- If you don't have much time to prep, start here for a condensed explanation of what to print to get started in a hurry!

Teacher guide
- NGSS aligned standards, grades 2 – Middle School (6 pages)
- Thorough directions to conduct and get the most from the activity (27 pages)
o Materials and timing
o Activity overview and modifications
o What to say and not to say during the build
o Post-build extension activities list
o Managing results
o Tips and guidelines for all student handouts

Student Handouts
Criteria and Constraints lists

- Version 1: simple - ready to print + editable (2 pages)
- Version 2: complex - ready to print + editable (2 pages)

Results and Data Analysis (time-saver version, within group)
- Version 1: younger students - ready to print + editable (5 pages, simpler version with increased response space and cute graphics)
- Version 2: older students - ready to print + editable (3 pages, streamlined response space and graphics)

Shared Results and Data Analysis (in-depth version, across groups)
- Version 1: one criterion - ready to print + editable (2 pages)
- Version 2: double criteria - ready to print + editable (3 pages)

Group Discussion Questions
- Eight questions on two pages

Process Flow Map
- Version 1: younger students (2 pages)
- Version 2: older students (1 page)

Design Report Extension
- Version 1: younger students (1 page)
- Version 2: older students (1 page)

Math Extension
- Version 1: younger students (1 page)
- Version 2: older students (1 page)

The Thanksgiving MINI MAYFLOWER version of this challenge is included as part of this purchase!

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Please download the preview for sample student pages, and feel free to contact me with any questions!
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Total Pages
65
Answer Key
N/A
Teaching Duration
3 Days

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STEM Design Challenge: Build a Boat
STEM Design Challenge: Build a Boat
STEM Design Challenge: Build a Boat
STEM Design Challenge: Build a Boat