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:
Individually or in partners/small groups, students will design the “heaviest” heart possible.
– Using a criteria/constraints list, students create small hearts of various colors & sizes. Point values are assigned to each color group based on its size. Students arrange various configurations of their smaller hearts inside a large, outer heart in order to create the “heaviest” possible heart. (“Heaviest” is in quotation marks because we are not measuring weight; rather, we are assigning point values to inner hearts.)
This challenge can be run simply (focusing on shape creation & manipulation, measurement, addition, and symmetry), or you can add complexity (focusing on length/width ratios, multiplying & dividing decimals, percent contribution, etc.). Two criteria/constraints lists are provided to highlight either end of the spectrum along with editable versions.
The "M" in this STEM challenge should be an extra-large capital letter, because it is definitely the focus in this 2-D challenge! Modifications included, 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:
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge DIGITAL/PAPERLESS Bundle
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
- Outer “Heavy” Heart outline (you have the option to do this challenge where the students manipulate paper hearts on the printable heart handout, or use the fully digital version)
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- 12 math problem task card slides of increasing difficulty
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. )
– Colored construction or printer paper (3 – 6 sheets)
• Recommended one sheet each of red, pink, and purple per partner/group
– Colored pencils or crayons
– Heart outline copies
– Design analysis handouts
• Folders, Ziploc bags, or large envelopes to contain cutouts if using on multiple days.
• Glue (if you want students to glue their final design in place)
• Calculators (for younger students and/or those with special needs)
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
“I only had the chance to do the heavy hearts activity, but the kids loved it! They were so totally engrossed and working so well in cooperative groups that I could have left the room and they wouldn't have known! Thanks for putting this together!”
“High enjoyment levels - a great resource!”
“Terrific!! My students were challenged and loved this project!!”
“I loved how these looked in my room! =)”
You might also like these resources:
STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE
Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE
Christmas-Winter STEM Bundle
Thanksgiving STEM Bundle
Halloween STEM Bundle
Back-to-School STEM Bundle
Analyze and Interpret Data Unit
Please check out the preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!