St. Patrick's Day STEM Activity - Guard the Gold Paperless Version

Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
20 pages
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Looking for a St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge that your students will love but is more than just a craft or activity to pass the time?

The basic premise:

For leprechauns, life is a constant struggle to protect their pot of gold from treasure hunters and keep from getting caught themselves!

Working against criteria & constraints individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build one or more devices to help a leprechaun guard his pot of gold from thieves.

Modifications included for grades 2-8.


Note: This version is for use with Google Slides in 1:1/paperless classrooms. If you prefer to print and have students complete work with paper/pencil, you'll want to look at the printable version 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.


This is one of five St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 40% discount:

St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge: 5-in-1 DIGITAL/PAPERLESS Bundle


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to”/PD videos

- Materials and timing

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

- Measuring results

- Post-design extension activities list

- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides Post-design extension activities list

- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge

- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to”/PD videos

- Leprechaun Lore List (printable and slide versions)

Student Slides

- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)

- Leprechaun Lore List

- Design Analysis

- Discussion Questions

Extension slides

- Process flow map

- Website & Video linked slides

- Rainbow research log

- Guard the Gold narrative writing slide re: rainbows and visible light

- Create & solve math problems based on designs




Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

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

– Gold chocolate coins (5 – 10)

• Almond Hershey’s Kisses or Rolos are a good alternate – easier to find and often less expensive

– Small cups, bowls, or coffee filters (1 – 3)

– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)

– String/yarn (24 – 36 in.)

– Shoeboxes and/or cardboard scraps (distributed evenly among groups)

– Craft sticks (5 – 10)

– Tape (12 – 24 in.)

– Rubber bands (5 – 10)

– Scissors

– Second-timer

– Design analysis handouts (included)

– Leprechaun Lore List (included)


• Plastic baggies (1 – 2)

• Clothespins (2 – 4)

• Paperclips (10 – 20)

• Straws (5 – 10)

• Toothpicks (10 – 20)

• Brass brads/fasteners (2 – 4)

• Single hole-punch


Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:

- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning

- Helps students develop growth mindset traits like persistence and resilience

- 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.

Each design iteration should be planned for ~60-90 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. If you add extension activities, you will need to adjust timing accordingly.


What do teachers have to say about this resource?

Note: Comments taken from the print version.

"My students did an amazing job, and this resource was easy for them to understand.”


"Excellent resource!"

“So much fun!”


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Winter STEM Challenge Bundle 1:1 Paperless Version

Total Pages
20 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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