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STEM Space Lander Math & Engineering Activity (Distance Learning)

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
5th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
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57 pages
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Vivify STEM
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  1. Space STEM Starter Challenges MEGA Bundle: Upper Elementary & Middle SchoolLaunch your students into STEM with these space-themed STEM challenges that incorporate the engineering design process. This mega bundle includes engaging STEM activities for space activities and design challenges all yea
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  2. GROWING bundle for Digital STEM challenges for Middle School! Perfect to support distance learning, in-person, and hybrid classrooms using the engineering design challenges and looking for hands-on activities. Activities include printed and digital handouts to use in any classroom setting - whether
    Save $28.03


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.

Read overview of activity here.

Find K-5 version of the activity here.

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


Bring Space Club to your school! If you are interested in a space-themed curriculum, check out our Space Club missions that connect students from around the world! In partnership with NASA, Vivify STEM runs semester-long space missions that include engineering design challenges, weekly career chats, a live leaderboard,

career chats with astronauts and engineers, and a chance to win robots and telescopes! From afterschool clubs to STEM classes, teachers can implement Space Club either in-person or through distance learning. Click here to register or apply for a grant.

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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Total Pages
57 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 hours
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


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