Looking for a fun Thanksgiving activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and/or math?
The basic premise:
Individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build a shelter to protect one or more Pilgrims from wind, rain, and snow.
--Note: Pilgrim and Native American cut-outs have been provided, so you have the option of using either or both.
*** CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO PREVIEW ***
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 Sept. 17, 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:
– Popsicle/craft sticks (30 – 50)
– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
– Masking or packing tape (24 – 36 in.)
– Cardboard / paper plates / small cups
– Ruler (to measure shelter dimensions)
– Copies of Pilgrim and/or Native America cut-outs
– 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)
– Coffee filters
– Cable ties
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- 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)
- 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)
- Physical Properties of Building Materials Handouts (“wide-rule” and “college rule” versions)
- Discussion Questions [in color and black & white]
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
What are teachers saying about Protect-a-Pilgrim?
“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!”
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