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 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.
*** CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO PREVIEW ***
Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity.
This product was updated Sept. 23, 2016.
This is one of five Thanksgiving STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 33% 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!
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:
– 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
- 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)
- Discussion Questions [in color and black & white]
- Calculating speed handout (includes editable version)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
What are teachers saying about Protect-a-Pilgrim?
“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 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