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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.
Note: This is the printable version. If you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you will want to check out the digital option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) instead.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Universal STEM Challenge Notes & How to Use Student Handouts Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
- Criteria and Constraints list (editable versions in color and black & white provided)
- Recording Results (2 options: sum or average scores)
- Design Analysis (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students in color and B&W included)
- Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)
- 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)
- Cause & Effect Notes (editable)
- Cause & Effect Practice (3 versions)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
This is one of five challenges available in the Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge bundle at a 40% discount!
This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!
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 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?
“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.”
You might also like these resources:
STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):
Please check out the video preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!
Video preview music credit:
"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License