Thanksgiving STEM Challenge Activity - Shelter Print and Paperless Bundle

Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
List Price:
You Save:
List Price:
You Save:
Share this resource


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 shelter to protect one or more Pilgrims or Wampanoag people from wind, rain, and snow.

--Note: Pilgrim and Wampanoag cut-outs have been provided, so you have the option of using either or both.


Note: This resource includes both the printable version and the paperless option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) for 1:1 / paperless classroom.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • 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 the challenge

Handouts & Google Slides(TM) Options for Student Recording & Reflecting

- Criteria & Constraints List (editable)

- Design Analysis (editable)

- Discussion Questions (editable)

- Pilgrim and Wampanoag cut-outs for shelter-building (color and B&W)

Extension templates

  • Process Flow Map
  • Create Math Problems Based on Designs
  • Physical Properties of Building Materials Handouts (“wide-rule” and “college rule” versions; editable)


Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

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

  • Popsicle/craft sticks (30 – 50)
  • Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
  • Masking or packing tape (24 – 36 in.)
  • Foil
  • Cardboard / paper plates / small cups
  • Scissors
  • Ruler (to measure shelter dimensions)
  • Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
  • Spray bottle, eye dropper (to simulate rain)
  • Bottled Water (to simulate snow weight)
  • Small fan (to simulate wind; alternatively, you can blow through a straw)

Optional ideas:

– Straws

– Coffee filters

– String

– Cable ties


What are teachers saying about this resource?

“This product was very thoughtfully laid out. It was very easy to follow, engaging, and creative! I really appreciate how you made cross curricular ties to math and language arts. Sometimes it's tricky to do with science, and this will really help students have fun and make connections. Thank you!”

“Fun activity to use year after year. It was a great way to challenge my students with learning disabilities ( high school). They loved doing this activity.”

“My middle school kids had a lot of fun.”

“So awesome! My firsties really enjoyed this activity.”

“My students loved this activity. The worksheets that went with it were perfect. I'm going to do it again next year after we research pilgrim's daily life and their environment.”

“My 7th and 8th graders loved this!”

"Did it with first graders...They loved it!"

“This was an awesome STEM!! Our kids loved doing this!! Thank you for the thorough packet!!”

“My kids are LOVING these Thanksgiving STEM activities! The engagement level is high and it's a perfect activity to keep learning going even though the holidays are approaching and kids know there is going to be a break from school!”

“So much fun. The students loved it. Great for critical thinking!”

Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up