Looking for some fun Thanksgiving activities that incorporate science, math, technology, and engineering? These STEM / STEAM Challenges will keep your kids engaged and working during an otherwise distracting holiday!
The basic premise:
Students work in partners or groups against criteria & constraints lists to design and build Thanksgiving-themed devices.
Modification suggestions are included to make these challenges engaging and productive for students in grades 2 - 8.
Note: This version is for use with Google Slides in 1:1 / paperless classrooms. If you prefer to print and have students complete work with paper/pencil, you'll want to look at the PRINTABLE VERSION instead.
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.
There are five STEM design challenges included in this bundle:
• Though the Pumpkin Picker and Corn Cultivator challenges could be interchanged, the recommended order is based on the following story line:
– Pilgrims come to America (Mini Mayflower)
– Pilgrims require shelter from weather (Protect-a-Pilgrim) (options included to build shelters for Wampanoag and Pilgrims)
– Pilgrims gather food (Pumpkin Picker)
– Pilgrims begin organized agriculture (Corn Cultivator)
– With food & shelter in place, Pilgrims have time for fun and games (Turkey Transporter)
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. Materials lists can be found in the product descriptions for each individual challenge linked above and viewable in the preview.
• Overall STEM Tips
- Suggestions on timing and whether or not to treat these challenges as competitions
- What to say (and what not to say) during STEM Challenges
- 5-event Data Tracker (Google Slide format & printable version)
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to STEM Challenge How-To videos
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of each challenge
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process Flow Map
- Create & Solve Math Problems Based on Designs
- Several video / website slides for broadening understanding of related topics
- Plus, other design-specific extensions (see each individual challenge resource description page – clickable in the preview – for more details)
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- Helps students develop growth mindset traits like persistence and resilience
- 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 ~60-90 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. If you add extension activities, you will need to adjust timing accordingly.
What are teachers saying about this bundle?
Note: Comments taken from theprint version.
"This is an extremely well-thought out unit that incorporates math, science and even reading. This was worth every dime spent-thanks!"
“Excellent resource. Activities are challenging and engaging.”
“WOW! Loved using this resource! The kids loved the activities! I was so surprised by all the information and activities you provided at such a great price. Thank you!!”
“My students and I loved these STEM activities. They really challenged the students to think deep!! Thank you!”
“Amazing STEM activities that my fourth graders absolutely loved!”
“Very detailed explanations using everyday items for holiday stem activities.”
“So much fun! It really got the students thinking outside the box!I used these lessons for the first time last year. I can't wait to use them again this year!”
“Fabulous resource full of wonderful activities!”
You might also like these resources:
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!