It can be so difficult to keep kids engaged in the last weeks of the school year. Summer STEM challenges are here to the rescue!
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.
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!
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.
- Topics to explore during the process and extension activities include any or all of the following (suggestions included): basic operations, odd & even numbers, prime and composite numbers, graphing data, mean, median, mode, and range, greatest common factors, square roots, and exponents.
Each design iteration should be planned for at least ~ 60 min. if you are including design analysis. 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:
– 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)
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)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)
- Car trunk designs (4 options)
- Road trip packing items (2 pages- in color and grayscale)
- Discussion Questions
- 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).
You might also like these products:
Seasonal STEM Design Challenge 5-in-1 Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
Summer: Keep it Cool – Make it Melt
Summer: Drippin’ Dash
Summer: Amphibious Phone
Summer: Wicked-Fast Water Slide
St. Patrick’s Day
Or these great products:
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