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 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 a device to rid Ireland of snakes as quickly and safely as possible.
– Snakes (10 – 20) will be spread over a map of Ireland (three map options are provided). Student devices must lift snakes from Ireland and drop them in the surrounding ocean.
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
- 3 printable maps of Ireland to conduct the challenge (digital maps provided if you choose to project maps onto a surface for students instead)
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Video/website links re: the legend of St. Patrick
- Maps of Ireland
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Website & video linked slides about snakes/reptiles, camouflage/mimicry, and invasive species
- Snake research log
- Camouflage & Mimicry Research Log
- Legend writing slide (2 options)
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
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. )
– Variety of snakes. (10 – 30)
• Gummy worms, Licorice, rotini noodles (raw or cooked), plastic snakes, twisted pipe cleaners, etc.
• Note: there is an option in the challenge to mix in other “creatures” with the snakes to add difficulty. You may elect to designate some of the materials listed above or select new ones.
– Craft sticks (5 – 10)
– Pipe cleaners (5 - 10)
– String/yarn (12 – 24 in.)
– Straws (5 – 10)
– Tape (12 - 24 in.)
– Rubber bands (5 - 10)
– Second timer
– Design analysis handouts (included)
– Map of Ireland (Included)
• Place in sheet protectors or laminate (optional)
• Small cups or bowls
• Blue paper (ocean surrounding Ireland)
• Clothespins or binder clips (3 – 5)
• Paperclips (10 – 20)
• Toothpicks (10 – 20)
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.
“One of my students favorite activities from the year.”
“Great idea for St. Patrick's Day to go beyond the gold and leprechauns and get to the meaning behind the holiday. Love your work! Thanks!”
“My students LOVED this activity! So much fun!”
“This is an incredible resource. I already started planning for March 17 and cant wait to use it!”
“Great for St. Patrick's Day! Our kids really enjoyed these while keeping their minds engaged!”
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!