Did you know that “toy engineer” is a real job? Toy companies hire engineers to design, construct, play with, and test their toys! There is a big focus on STEAM these days, and I thought I would put a fun, social studies twist to this project. This is a fun activity to do around Thanksgiving time in your classroom. It combines social studies, STEAM Engineering, ELA, and critical thinking. Students will be designing and testing toys and games that pilgrims played.
NOTE: This product is newly revised and has had a complete and total makeover! It can be found in the Games Pilgrims Play Bundle (Check to see if you already own it!)
Games Pilgrims Play Bundle
• 10 Game/Toy Design Challenge cards
• 2 Blank Challenges (because I always had students who wanted to pick their own game based on their own research or other reading we have done!)
• Graphic Organizer to record tests and results
• Game opinions rating scale
• Simple grading checklist/rubric
• Detailed notes to teacher
• Material Ideas List and Internet links for research
How to Use:
1. You may choose to do this as an individual project or with partners and groups. I recommend no more than three students in a group.
2. Allow students to choose one of the toy challenges.
3. Give students time to construct and test their toys. The testing is very open ended. I don’t tell students exactly what to test. Encourage them to pretend they work for a toy company. How could they make the best toy?
4. Use the graphic organizer for students to record their tests and results.
5. Also, have students complete the toy rating scale.
How to Grade:
• Use the provided Grading Checklist/Rubric to grade the overall project.
• Have students present their games to the class.
• Allow students to take turns playing each other’s games.
• Have students write a commercial to sell their game to pilgrim children.
• various string and rope
• dowel sticks
• cardboard boxes
• metal fasteners
• popsicle sticks
• rubber bands
• small cups
• small ball
• hula hoop
• metal washers
• pipe cleaners
• metal wire
A Note About Materials:
The materials are suggestions. For any type of STEM or STEAM engineering task, always use what you have and don’t let lack of craft sticks prevent you from doing a project. Sometimes when students have to improvise with the materials, that’s’ when the real creative thinking comes out! *See a suggested list of materials on the next page.
You might also like:
Thanksgiving Timeline Task Cards