Summer / End of the Year STEM Challenge: Pick and Pack PAPERLESS

Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
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50 pages
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  1. These summer STEM challenges are the perfect end of the year activities to keep your students engaged through the very last day of school!The basic premise: Students work in partners or groups against criteria & constraints lists to design and build summer-themed objects. Modification suggestio
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  3. This summer STEM challenge is the perfect end of year activity to keep your students engaged through the very last day of school!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 differ
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This summer STEM challenge is the perfect end of the year activity to keep your students engaged through the very last day of school!

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.

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 Summer / End of the Year STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 40% discount:

Summer / End of the Year DIGITAL/PAPERLESS STEM Challenge Bundle


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to”/PD videos

- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge

- 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

Student Slides

- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)

- Car trunk designs (4 options; Print version is included in addition to Google Slides™)

- Road trip packing items (2 pages- in color and B&W; point-values are editable; Print version is included in addition to Google Slides™)

- Design Analysis

- Discussion Questions

Extension slides

- Process Flow Map

- Create Math Problems Based on Designs

- Twelve Design-Related Math Problems (three leveled sets)

- Road Trip Research & Planning (good for grades 5-8)




Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. NOTE: You can have students design either with the print version, or use the fully digital version in Google Slides™)

– Car trunk handouts (4 options included)

– Road trip item cut-out handouts (included)

– Scissors

– 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 ~60-90 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.

“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!"


You might also like these resources:
Back to School STEM Challenge Bundle: 1:1 PAPERLESS Version
Create-ure STEM Challenge: PAPERLESS VERSION
Earth Day STEM Challenge: New Earth City PAPERLESS VERSION
Plants STEM Challenge: PAPERLESS Version
Winter STEM Challenge Bundle 1:1 Paperless Version
Easter STEM Challenge Bundle Paperless Version


Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!


Total Pages
50 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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