It can be so difficult to keep kids engaged during the end of the school year. Summer STEM challenges are here to the rescue!
The basic premise:
In partners or groups, students will design and build two devices: one to slow the melting process (Keep it Cool) and one to speed it up (Make it Melt).
Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity.
This challenge is available in the SUMMER STEM 5-in-1 BUNDLE at a savings of 33% off the cost of buying each challenge separately. What a bargain! ☺
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
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 at least ~ 90 min. (or two 45-min blocks). If you add extension activities, you will need to adjust timing accordingly. I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
– Hershey bars (give each group three rectangles - ¼ of the bar - for testing)
• Hershey bars are ideal because it is easy to observe changes as the chocolate becomes shiny, the lettering fades, and lines become wavy.
• Ice cubes can be substituted, but try to ensure they are equal in size.
– Small cups (1-2)
– Foil (~12 sq. in.)
– Plastic baggies or plastic wrap (1 – 2)
– Pipe cleaners (4 – 6)
– String/yarn (12 – 24 in.)
– Cardboard scraps
– Cotton balls (3 – 6)
• Tissue, paper towels, or toilet paper can be substituted
– Tape (12 – 24 In.)
– Design analysis handouts (included)
– Observation handouts (included)
• Markers & Construction paper
• Rubber bands
• Cameras to capture changes over time
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Observation Handouts (2 pages to record changes to chocolate in the control, Keep it Cool and Make it Melt designs)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)
- Discussion Questions
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
Note: If you have purchased some of my non-holiday STEM challenges, this is a lighter – though not necessarily light – approach. Please download the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
You might also like these products:
Seasonal STEM Design Challenge 5-in-1 Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
Summer: Drippin’ Dash
Summer: Amphibious Phone
Summer: Wicked-Fast Water Slide
St. Patrick’s Day
Or these great products:
Photosynthesis: Hands-on Modeling Activity
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
New Earth City STEM Challenge
Card Towers STEM Challenge
Build a Boat STEM Challenge