Looking for an engaging St. Patrick's Day activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering and/or math?
The basic premise:
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.
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- 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 video walk through of this challenge (posts March 9, 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)
- Map of Ireland (three choices provided in color and B&W)
- Discussion Questions (color and B&W)
- Snake Research Log
- Camouflage & Mimicry 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:
– 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 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