The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build the smallest container possible to house a candy assortment.
– “Confection Container” alternative: students will design and build the smallest container possible to house one or more cupcakes (keeping frosting on the cupcakes, not the box!)
– Because this can be treated as two separate challenges, two criteria/constraints lists have been provided: one for candy and another for confection (cupcake).
Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity.
This is one of five Valentine’s Day STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 33% discount:
Valentine’s Day 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Bundle (2nd – 8th)
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 at least 45 – 60 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. 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.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
– Assortment of candy (4 – 8 pieces). A variety of shapes is desired.
• “Confection Container” Alternative: one or more cupcakes
– Cardboard/cardstock (paper plates, cereal boxes, Valentine’s cards boxes, etc.)
– Craft sticks (5-10)
– Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
– Tape (24 in.)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
• Valentine’s decorations (lace, ribbons, hearts, etc.) or construction paper, markers, and glue
• Tissue paper
• Small paper cups
• Straws (5 – 10)
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Criteria and Constraints list (editable version provided)
- Results and Data Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)
- Discussion Questions
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
Note: If you have purchased some of my non-holiday STEM challenges, this is a lighter – though not necessarily light – approach. Please download the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
You might also like these products:
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge: Flower Frenzy (2nd – 8th)
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge: Cards in the Clouds (2nd – 8th)
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge: “Heavy” Hearts (2nd – 8th)
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge: Cupid’s Quiver (2nd – 8th)
Halloween 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Bundle (2nd – 8th)
Thanksgiving 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Bundle (2nd – 8th)
Christmas/Winter 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Bundle (2nd – 8th)
Valentine’s Day Parts of Speech Activity (2nd – 3rd)
Graphing with Skittles Activity (2nd – 3rd)
STEM Challenge: Boat Building (2nd – 8th)
STEM Challenge: Card Towers (2nd – 8th)
Photosynthesis: Hands-on Modeling Activity
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit