This Thanksgiving STEM / STEAM Challenge will engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun while following the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World!
The basic premise:
Individually, or in partners/groups, students will design and build one or more tools to aid in the cultivation of corn. The tool(s) must till, dig holes, plant & cover seeds, and water the crops.
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.
This is one of five Thanksgiving STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 40% discount:
Thanksgiving STEM Challenge: 5-in-1 DIGITAL/PAPERLESS Bundle
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 the challenge
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Video/website linked slides
- 12 math problem task card slides of increasing difficulty
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )
o Popcorn kernels (30 - 50)
o Paperclips or Swedish Fish candies (to symbolize fertilizer)
-- plastic or foil container filled with flour, sand, or soil – or perform the challenge outdoors and have students stake off their farms
o Water (to test irrigation)
o Straws (5 – 10)
o Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
o Popsicle/craft sticks (5 – 10)
o Foil sheet
o Plastic spoons, knives, and/or forks (2 – 4)
o Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
-- Q-tips, toothpicks, clothespins
-- Binder clips
-- Rubber bands, cable ties
-- Small paper cups
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 do teachers have to say about this resource?
Note: Comments taken from the print version.
“WOW! This is one of my favorite TpT purchases to date! This STEM bundle is engaging and fun. My students loved the activities and it was a way to incorporate some fun into learning about Thanksgiving. The bundle was complete with everything you'd need (except building materials) the questions and instructions were well thought out and perfect!”
“Fantastic resource! Thank you!”
You might also like these resources:
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Halloween STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!