Looking for St. Patrick’s Day activities that your students will love but are more
than just a St. Patrick’s Day craft or activity to pass the time? This St. Patrick’s STEM Challenge (or STEAM Challenge) will keep your students engaged in brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The basic premise:
Working against criteria & constraints individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build one or more devices to transfer leprechaun gold from his pot to their own.
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
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- 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
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Website linked slides
- Limerick writing slide (2 options)
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Math Extension options: Identifying even vs. odd numbers; using divisibility rules with 4-digit numbers; using divisibility rules with square roots and exponents
CLICK THE GREEN PREVIEW BUTTON UNDER THE COVER & THUMBNAILS TO SEE THE SLIDES INCLUDED IN THIS RESOURCE!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )
• Pots of “gold” to test designs (1 per group or 1 whole-class)
• Pots: Halloween plastic cauldrons look the part, but any bowl will do.
• Gold: chocolate coins, Almond Hershey’s Kisses, Rolos, etc. (two or three bags should be plenty for the whole class)
• Alternate option: if you also did the “Guard the Gold” challenge, use student-made pots of gold.
• Pipe cleaners (5 - 10)
• String/yarn (12 24 in.)
• Tape (12 - 24 in.)
• Rubber bands (5 - 10)
• Bags to collect gold (1)
• Ruler/measuring tape
• Design analysis handouts (included)
• Craft sticks (5 – 10)
• Paperclips (10 – 20)
• Straws (5 – 10)
• Binder clips or clothespins (5)
• Bowls, cups, or coffee filters (1)
• Plastic spoons, knives, or forks
• Decoy/fool’s gold: crumpled yellow paper, cotton balls, etc.
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
“This was such an interesting project to do with my students. I loved watching them come up with different ways to get the gold!”
“Awesome- loved using this with my second graders the planning/reflection sheets were awesome.”
“My class loved this activity! We used a balance scale and gram weights to weigh our "gold." Adding 100s, 10s, 5s, and 1s was perfect for 2nd graders. Just another variation to the multiple suggestions in the packet. Thanks!”
“Adapted a little bit and included religion with St. Patrick. Changed the candy to "counters" and am using positive/negative integers as well.”
You might also like these resources:
⭐ Back to School STEM Challenge Bundle: 1:1 PAPERLESS Version
⭐ Christmas - Winter STEM Challenge Bundle 1:1 PAPERLESS
⭐ Easter STEM Challenge Bundle Paperless Version
⭐ Halloween STEM Challenges: 5-in-1 Bundle_Paperless 1:1 Version
⭐ St. Patrick's Day STEM Challenge Bundle 1:1 Paperless Version
⭐ Thanksgiving STEM Challenges: 5-in-1 Digital-Paperless Bundle
⭐ Valentine's Day STEM Challenge Bundle 1:1 Paperless Version
⭐ Winter STEM Challenge Bundle 1:1 Paperless Version
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!