Thanksgiving STEM Activity - Turkey Transporter

Rated 4.88 out of 5, based on 276 reviews
276 Ratings
Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
25 pages
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching

What educators are saying

This was SUCH a fun STEM project! The kids were so engaged and we loved competing to see who could go the farthest!
My fifth graders had a blast with this activity! There was a big competition to see who would be able to transport the turkey in the shortest amount of time!
Also included in
  1. These Thanksgiving STEM activities will keep your students engaged right up until the break as they design and build devices to help the Wampanoag and/or Pilgrims meet their needs for transportation, shelter, food, and more. Modification suggestions are included to make these challenges engaging and
    Price $8.98Original Price $17.50Save $8.52
  2. Super-charge your STEM class with 52 high-engagement, critical thinking, problem-solving, NGSS-aligned challenges to take you through the entire year! Modifications are included to make these activities engaging and challenging for students in grades 2 - 8. The basic premise: Students work in partne
    Price $92.00Original Price $182.36Save $90.36
  3. This Thanksgiving STEM / STEAM Challenge is collaborative, brain-busting work disguised as fun!The basic premise:Individually, or in partners/groups, students will design and build a way to safely transport a turkey a given distance (e.g. width of the classroom, 15 ft., the top of the stairwell to t
    Price $5.98Original Price $7.96Save $1.98
  4. Two Fall STEM activities to engage your students in the 4 C's of engineering - Turkey Transporter STEM Challenge and Fall STEM Improv!Fall STEM Activity 1: STEM ImprovA quick STEM activity to work on creativity, mental flexibility & the planning step of the Engineering Design Process (EDP).Here'
    Price $5.50Original Price $7.00Save $1.50


This Thanksgiving STEM activity will engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun.

The basic premise:

Individually, or in partners/groups, students will design and build a way to safely transport a turkey a given distance (e.g. width of the classroom, 15 ft., the top of the stairwell to the ground, etc.).

-- Because this can be treated as two separate challenges, two criteria/constraints lists have been provided: one for the turkey traveling a horizontal distance quickly and a second for a vertical drop, arriving gently/slowly.


Note: This is the printable version, though you can upload the editable version of the handouts to Google Slides™. However, if you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you may prefer the version designed specifically for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM).

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.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • Links to my STEM Challenge PD video series
  • Materials and timing
  • Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
  • Measuring results
  • Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Handouts Post-design extension activities list
  • Link to a video walk-through of the challenge

EDITABLE Student Handouts

  • Criteria & Constraints List (in color and black & white)
  • Turkey Template
  • Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) (in color and black & white)
  • Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)

Extension templates

  • Calculating speed handout (includes editable version)
  • Process Flow Map
  • Math Extension


This is one of five Thanksgiving STEM Challenge Activities. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 40% discount:

Thanksgiving STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle

This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!


Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)

  • Copies of Turkey handouts
  • Timer
  • Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
  • Popsicle/craft sticks (5 – 10)
  • Rope and/or string (Equal amount to distance requirement)
  • Paper plate(s) and/or bowls
  • Coffee filters
  • Straws (5 – 10)
  • Binder clips (1-3, various sizes)
  • Clothespins (3 – 5)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tapes (tip: pick up paper measuring tapes from Ikea)


• Cardboard

• Cable ties

• Rubber bands

• Small cups


What do teachers have to say about this resource?

"With so many STEM activities out on the market, this one truly is superior. So thorough, not just about the activity directions, but also with differentiation options, a walk through the design process, and various common scenarios that pop up during the activity. SO worth every penny of its price! And my 2nd graders LOVED the premise of the challenge!"

“My class used this the day before Thanksgiving break. So many students were missing, and I wanted to do something valuable, but didn't want to proceed through the curriculum with all of my missing kiddos. This was PERFECT. The video was so helpful and the activity prompted some great science discussions (relationship between gravity and mass, friction, potential energy vs. kinetic energy). Thank you for such a well constructed activity!”

“Did this with my second graders, and they loved it!!! It was amazing - I truly appreciated the video guidance also as I had never done an activity like this. I will be looking to purchase more from Kerry Tracy!”

“My kids absolutely LOVED this! This was so much fun! I did this during a curriculum night with the parents and they really enjoyed it too!”

"Your resources are exceptional. Students are actively engaged in real problem solving. I especially appreciate the associated professional development quick lessons you provide on Youtube."

"This is quite possibly the most thorough STEM project resource I have ever run across. It's perfect for the way our school does multi-grade interest-based scientific inquiry. THANK YOU!"

“A lot of bang for your buck! This was a fantastic activity with detailed pages.

“My class had the most fun! They were cooperative and excited, and absolutely amazed at how much fun they had writing after all of the hands on fun!”

"This was the most fun we've had in the library! Best thing I've ever bought. Thank you!"

"I used this both in class with my first graders and again with our after school program kids K-6. It was a great stem activity and my students had fun with it!"

"This was a favorite this year!  Students couldn't collaborate but enjoyed making their own and watching the outcomes.  I even used it with my 8th graders and they are still talking about it." (2nd - 8th teacher)


You might also like these resources:

STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):

Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle

Halloween STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle


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


Total Pages
25 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
Report this resource to TPT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TPT’s content guidelines.


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.


Questions & Answers


TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up