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Updated for distance learning with student handout versions for Google Slides, Seasaw, and Flipgrid!
The combination of marshmallows (or ping pong balls) and aliens makes this a winning STEM challenge! With the Space Lander Challenge, student teams build a lander using the Engineering Design Process to keep two marshmallow "aliens" or "astronauts" inside a cup as it is dropped from various heights. Using straws, index cards, and mini marshmallows or cotton balls, students apply concepts of shock-absorption, drag forces, and stability, to create and test designs. A surprise ending challenge helps students learn from their failures too! The included Common Core aligned math extension problems help students analyze solutions and connect the challenge to real-world scenarios.
Update: This product now has 3 options that connect students to real world STEM! Follow the story line by choosing between aliens, the Moon, or Mars as a theme. This product includes handouts describing the Apollo and Artemis missions to the Moon as well as the exploration and future of humans on Mars! This is the perfect way to connect to current events in space exploration.
As with many STEM activities that are student-driven, this challenge can be tailored to students of various skill levels and abilities. As one of our go-to STEM challenges, we have used the STEM Space Lander Challenge in elementary through high school levels with great success!
Included in this product:
- Complete Teacher Guide: Detailed teacher guide with links to resources, grading rubric, handouts on a STEM career connection and science background, student handouts for the engineering design process, and math extension problems.
- Instructional video: Led by an engineer, the video includes science background, STEM careers, real-world connections, and a detailed explanation for the STEM activity to guide students
- Printable Take-Home STEM Journals for sending packets home to students without internet access (editable pages in Google Slides)
- Digital STEM Journals for Google Slides, Seesaw, and Flipgrid. These can be used in the classroom for paperless handouts or assigned for distance learning through Google Classroom, Schoology, or other platforms.
- Editable Note to Families
- Math connection problems including angles, ratios, geometry, and graphing
Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here: bit.ly/VivifyResourceGuide
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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