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Looking for Valentine’s Day activities that your students will love but are more than just a craft or activity to pass the time? This Valentine’s STEM Challenge (or STEAM Challenge) will keep your students engaged in brain-busting work disguised as fun!
The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list individually or in partners/groups, students will design and build the tallest “tower of love” possible using Valentine’s Day cards they were probably just going to throw away anyway! (Note: for older students or those who don’t exchange cards, see materials list below and thumbnail above; alternative love-notes handout is included.)
Modifications included for grades 2-8.
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 Valentine’s Day STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 40% discount:
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to”/PD videos
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Love Letter printable templates (for students who don’t exchange Valentine’s cards)
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides 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
CLICK THE GREEN PREVIEW BUTTON UNDER THE COVER & THUMBNAILS TO SEE THE SLIDES INCLUDED IN THIS RESOURCE!
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. )
– Choose primary material(s) from the following:
• 20+ Valentine’s Day cards
• 20+ index cards
• 4-5 Valentine’s Day card boxes
• Copies of “love letters” on paper or card stock
– Tape (12 in.)
– Ruler or measuring tape
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
– Optional: craft stick, pipe cleaner
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.
“Kids loved the challenge. I loved that we could find a use for our valentines that would have ended up in the trash right away :)”
“Very fun STEM challenge! My students loved it!”
“Great teaching tool, used as an observation lesson and my principal loved it!”
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Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!