Looking for a fun Thanksgiving activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and math?
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.
This is one of five Thanksgiving STEM Challenges. 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!
Note: This product was updated in Sept. 18, 2016.
Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- 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 approximately 60 – 90 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. Again, I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
– For each student or group:
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
- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Premise & Set-up
- Materials and timing
- Modifying Criteria & Constraints to adjust challenge difficulty
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list & links
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Handouts
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided) [in color and black & white]
- Design Analysis Handouts (Two sets for two different challenge goals and two versions of each: 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) [in color and black & white]
- Discussion Questions [in color and black & white]
- Process Flow Map
- Math Task Card templates (with 12 leveled examples and editable version included)
- Pumpkin outline writing templates
What are teachers saying about Corn Cultivator?
“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 may also like these products:
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Back-to-School (apples & school supplies) Bundle
Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle
Thanksgiving Parts of Speech Activity (2nd – 3rd)
Halloween STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE