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 a way to safely transport a turkey a given distance (e.g. width of the classroom, 15 ft., the top of the stairwell to the ground, etc.).
-- Because this can be treated as two separate challenges, two criteria/constraints lists have been provided: one for the turkey traveling a horizontal distance quickly and a second for a vertical drop, arriving gently/slowly.
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
- Calculating Turkey Speed
- Turkey Anatomy activity
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )
– Copies of Turkey handouts
– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
– Popsicle/craft sticks (5 – 10)
– Rope and/or string (Equal amount to distance requirement)
– Paper plate(s) and/or bowls
– Coffee filters
– Straws (5 – 10)
– Binder clips (1-3, various sizes)
– Clothespins (3 – 5)
– Measuring tapes (tip: pick up paper measuring tapes from Ikea)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
• Cable ties
• Rubber bands
• Small 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
"With so many STEM activities out on the market, this one truly is superior. So thorough, not just about the activity directions, but also with differentiation options, a walk through the design process, and various common scenarios that pop up during the activity. SO worth every penny of its price! And my 2nd graders LOVED the premise of the challenge!"
“My kids absolutely LOVED this! This was so much fun! I did this during a curriculum night with the parents and they really enjoyed it too!”
“My students LOVED this activity! Thank you so much!”
“A lot of bang for your buck! This was a fantastic activity with detailed pages.”
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!