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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:
In groups, students will design and build a bow & arrow set for Cupid’s Valentine’s Day target practice. (Designing the quiver is optional.)
– Option: if you find bow & arrow design too difficult, modify the challenge to make throwing darts instead.
– Students will aim for high scores as they take three shots each at a Valentine’s themed target. Final scores are taken as the sum or average of their personal and/or team results.
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 great 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
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Slides Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Links to STEM Challenge “How-to”/PD videos
- Printable Cupid's Target (Nine 8.5 x 11 inch pages in landscape format -- in color and black & white versions -- for you to print and arrange)
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Two options for recording results (sum or average scores)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Video/website linked slides
- Cause & Effect Editable Notes and Activity (3 versions)
- Optional narrative writing slide
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. )
– Straws (5 – 10)
– Cotton balls or sponge pieces (5)
– Water colors or tempera paint (small cup per team)
• Groups dip arrowheads in the “love potion” before taking aim. If the whole class uses one target, each groups needs a different color paint.
– Pipe cleaners (5)
– Craft sticks (3 - 5)
– Tape (24 in.)
– String (24 in.)
– Rubber bands (5 - 10)
– Target prints (one per class or group)
– Record results & analysis handouts
• Unsharpened pencils
• Plastic knives
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.
“My sixth graders LOVED this STEM challenge. I really appreciated the data collection pages and precise directions that were included. The videos linked to the product were also very helpful.”
“Students loved it! Easy to use with our STEM buddies in K & 1!”
“You could definitely do this for a whole afternoon, or over a few days. My fifth graders loved it! I chose to take the whole afternoon so we could design, build, get in all the trials, revise our designs, and try again. Very engaging!”
“This was a wonderful activity. All students were engaged and excited. You broke it up and made it easy for teachers to understand each step.”
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Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!