Looking for an engaging St. Patrick's Day activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering and/or math?
The basic premise:
Pennies found face up, horseshoes, and four-leaf clovers have long been symbols of luck. This challenge combines an element of each famous symbol. Originally conceived as an introduction to probability, in this challenge, students “make” their own luck by creating a four-leaf frisbee designed to always land face-up. A horseshoe-like game called four-leaf frisbee was added as an extension for a little extra St. Patrick’s Day fun.
– Working with a partner, students each design a four-leaf frisbee that will always land face-up. Students compare their results with a coin-flip test to measure the success of their designs.
– In four-leaf frisbee, partner teams test their skill and luck in a game played similarly to horseshoes, receiving points when their four-leaf frisbee designs land on a pot of gold, heads up, or within 6 in. of the gold.
– Design results are based on the heads-up probability of the frisbee design; it isn’t necessary to play the game, though it is a lot of fun!
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- 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 a video walk-through of the challenge (posts March 12, 2017)
- Criteria & Constraints List (in color and B&W; editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included in color and B&W)
- Data Recording Handout
- Four-leaf Frisbee Pot of Gold poster (in color and black & white)
- Discussion Questions (in color and black & white)
- Process flow map templates
- Simple probability practice (editable directions)
- Simple and compound probability practice (editable directions)
- Create your own word problems template
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:
– Pot of Gold game marker handout (included) (1)
• Alternative: Use pots of “gold” (Gold chocolate coins, Almond Hershey’s Kisses or Rolos
– Paper plates (2 – 4)
– Bobby pins and/or paper clips (8 – 12)
– Tape (12 - 24 in.)
– Craft sticks (5 - 10)
– Toothpicks (10 – 20)
– Coin (1)
– Data recording & design analysis handouts (included)
• Pipe cleaners (1-2)
• Straws (3 – 5)
• Index cards (5 – 10)
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- 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 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