Spring STEM Challenge Activity - Bean Bind

Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Formats Included
  • Zip
30 pages
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Looking for an Easter or spring STEM / STEAM activity sure to keep your kids engaged in collaborative, fun critical thinking & problem solving?

The basic premise:

Due to equipment malfunctioning at the bean factory, several types of beans are all mixed-up, putting the Easter Bunny in a bind! Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a device to sort the jelly beans from the mixed-up beans.

(You can skip the story if it's too cutesy for your kids, or if you want to avoid Easter references.)

– If you’re working with younger students, you’ll want to mix jelly beans with only one other bean type that is not too similar in size (e.g. black beans). For older students, increase to two or three other bean types, some of which may be closer in size to the jelly beans.


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™ instead.

If you have questions about which version is right for you, please feel free to leave me a question using the product Q&A below.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

- Links to STEM Challenge How-to Videos

- Materials and timing

- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)

- Measuring results

- Post-design extension activities list

- Link to challenge video walk through

Student Handouts

- Criteria & Constraints List (color and B&W; editable)

- Design Analysis Handouts (editable; 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included; color and B&W)

- Discussion Questions (editable; color and B&W)

Extension templates

- Process Flow Map

- Math Extension

- Task Card Tips, Templates, and Examples (editable)


This is one of five challenges available for a 40% discount in the Easter STEM Design Challenge 5-in-1 bundle.

This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!


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

Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

For each class:

– Jelly beans (1 – 2 bags)

– Mix-in beans: black, pinto, etc. (1 – 2 bags)

– Bowl/bucket to hold the mixed beans (1)

For each student or group:(

– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)

– Paper plates (1 – 4)

– Coffee filters

– Paper bags

– Tape (12 – 24 in.)

– Rubber bands (5 – 10)

– Scissors

– Design analysis handouts (included)


• Plastic baggies

• Single hole punch

• Foil or foil pans

• String/yarn

• Craft sticks

• Straws


What do teachers have to say about this resource?

“Great STEM activity...truly aligned to NGSS!”

“This was so much fun! My students really enjoyed the challenge.”

“I love that this is a themed STEM activity. The kids loved it. Thank you!”


You might also like these resources:
Create-ure STEM Challenge
Earth Day STEM Challenge: New Earth City
Summer / End of the Year STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Back to School STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
St. Patrick's Day STEM Challenge Bundle
STEM Design Challenge: Build a Boat
STEM Challenge: Flower Frenzy
Photosynthesis: Modeling Activity and Guided Notes Lessons
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Easter STEM Challenge Bundle

Total Pages
30 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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