Take-Home STEM Starter Engineering Challenges

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
2nd - 9th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
26 pages
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From catapults to cars to an egg drop challenge, this is your guide to getting started in STEM! Each activity has an in-depth student activity sheet along with a guide through the engineering design process. Materials are cheap, but the learning is fun, hands-on, and engaging!

STEM for Distance Learning: You can also get the whole family involved with STEM learning by using these as take-home STEM challenges! These STEM projects can be sent home as monthly projects or used in the classroom - perfect for distance learning! All challenges involve simple materials easily found around the home or classroom.

For distance learning, we recommend using these activities with our editable STEM journal that includes options for Seesaw, Google Slides, and Flipgrid.

10 STEM Engineering Design Challenges Included. Also listed are materials needed. The tallest tower and paper table missions should have defined material constraints otherwise the challenge is too easy. The other missions can be open-ended and allow the use of various recycled materials found at home or in the classroom.

  1. Tallest Tower: 50 index cards or 5 sheets paper, tape, scissors
  2. Paper Table: newspaper, scissors, tape, heavy book, ruler, timer
  3. Build A Boat: sink, aluminum foil, pennies or washers
  4. Egg Drop: rubber bands, balloons, popsicle sticks, hardboiled eggs, paper cups, straws, string, tape, scissors
  5. Mighty Machine / Catapult: plastic spoon, rubber bands, soda can, popsicle sticks, bean/marshmallow/balled up paper
  6. Balloon Car: latex balloon, plastic bottle, CDs or bottle caps, wooden pencils or skewers, plastic straws, glue, tape, paper clips, scissors, rubber bands
  7. Helping Hand: brass fasteners, cardboard, hole punch, rubber bands, scissors, duct tape, string, toothpicks, wooden skewers
  8. Roller Coaster: cup, ping pong ball, paper, paper plates, cup, cardboard, toilet paper rolls
  9. Bird Feeder: cereal boxes, paper rolls, paper, cardboard, string, cheerios or bird seed
  10. Drag Device: paper cup, ping pong ball, tissue paper, string, card stock, masking tape, ping pong ball, trash bags

What is included? STEM challenges incorporate math and science concepts with creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. Students are provided with a Mission Sheet and a Student Handout that guides them through the engineering design process. The challenge along with relevant math and science concepts are reviewed in class, and then students are tasked with completing the challenge and recording results. Parents are notified with a letter that encourages them to participate and support the learning process. Students then report back and share their final designs with the class.

Included in this product

  • Standards
  • Letter to Parents (separate editable file included)
  • Engineering Design Process Overview
  • STEM Challenge Student Handout
  • Ten STEM Challenges
  • Mission with a materials list and engineering design constraints that includes Math Problems & STEM Career Connection

Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here: bit.ly/VivifyResourceGuide

About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or afterschool program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
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.
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.


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