Looking for an engaging St. Patrick's Day activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering and/or math?
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.
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- Links to STEM Challenge How-To videos
- Link to video walk through of this challenge
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Criteria & Constraints List (in color and black & white; editable versions provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) (in color and black & white)
- Discussion Questions (in color and black & white)
- Write a Limerick
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension options (Identifying even vs. odd numbers; using divisibility rules with 4-digit numbers; using divisibility rules with square roots and exponents, and create-your-own word problems)
This is one of five challenges available at a 40% discount in the St. Patrick's Day STEM 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:
• 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.
You might also like these resources:
Seasonal STEM Design Challenge 5-in-1 Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
St. Patrick’s Day
Or these great resources:
Photosynthesis: Hands-on Modeling Activity
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit