Looking for a St. Patrick's Day activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering and/or math? This St. Pat’s STEM challenge is fun you can feel good about!
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.
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- Links to STEM Challenge How-To Videos
- Link to challenge walk through video
- 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)
- Leprechaun Lore List (In color and black & white)
- Discussion Questions (In color and black & white)
- Rainbow Research Log
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
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:
– 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)
– 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.
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