It’s the end of the school year, so your end-of-year activities need to be on-point to keep kids engaged! This summer STEM / STEAM Challenge brings the joy back to your classroom with collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners, students will select items to pack for a road trip. In this 2-D simulation of a 3-D task, students arrange items with different point values into pre-defined car trunk spaces. They can’t have it all, though! They’ll use a criteria & constraints list to bring all of what they need and some of what they want, as they aim for the highest point value.
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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
- Criteria & Constraints List (color and black & white; editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) (color and black & white)
- Car trunk designs (4 options)
- Road trip packing items (2 pages- in color and B&W; point-values are editable in PowerPoint)
- Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)
- Process Flow Map
- Create Math Problems Based on Designs
- Task card template (12 sample questions ranging age/skill level provided as well as editable versions and blank versions for students to create their own questions)
- Task card template for answer key (note: answers are not provided as questions will be generated based on student designs.)
- Road trip research & planning (9 pages, appropriate for grades 5 – 8. Where necessary, metric & customary measurement versions are included).
This is one of five challenges available at a 40% discount in the Summer STEM Challenge 5-in-1 bundle
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )
– Car trunk handouts (4 options included)
– Road trip item cut-out handouts (included)
– Design analysis handouts (included)
• Envelopes or Ziploc® bags (to hold cut-out items when not in use)
• Tape or glue
• Cameras / cell phone cameras (to quickly capture different pack designs)
• Extension activity handouts (task cards, road trip planning, etc. – included)
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.
What do teachers have to say about this resource?
“We used this as a partner activity on the last week. Thanks for helping me keep them thinking critically up to the end!”
“Great resource to keep kids engaged in those final weeks of school!”
“My students had a blast with this during our final week of school! We had completed several STEM-based challenges in the past but this was a perfect way to keep them busy while also forming a connection with a real-world application.”
“My kids are now excited about ‘summer school.’”
"I LOVE all of your stuff! Everything is well thought out, engaging and provides valuable experiences for my GT students. Thank you!"
Always impressed at how he deftly arranged and heroically made so much luggage fit in the trunk for family road trips, this challenge is inspired by and dedicated to my father, King of Luggage Tetris!
You might also like these resources:
STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
Summer STEM Bundle
Back-to-School STEM Bundle
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE
Back-to-School STEM Challenge Bundle
End of Year / Summer: Keep it Cool – Make it Melt
End of Year / Summer: Amphibious Phone
End of Year / Summer: Wicked-Fast Water Slide
End of Year / Summer: Drippin’ Dash
Card Towers STEM Challenge
Build a Boat STEM Challenge
New Earth City STEM Challenge
Or these great resources:
Photosynthesis: Hands-on Modeling Activity
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Speak, Listen & Draw Task Cards