Christmas and Winter STEM Challenges are the perfect activities to engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun when they've got the winter crazies!
This challenge is perfect for distance learning and social distancing because the materials are incredibly simple! Every one can build their own sled & slope or sleigh & slope!
The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list in partners or groups, students will build a sleigh/sled and ramp designed to transport the people or gifts the greatest possible distance.
Note: there is a "Sled & Slope" version for a winter (non-Christmas) activity as well as a "Sleigh & Slope" version for Christmas included.
Note: This resource includes both the printable version and the paperless option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) for 1:1 / paperless classroom.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to STEM Challenge How-To videos
- Materials and timing
- Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list
- Link to a video walk-through of the challenge
Handouts & Google Slides(TM) Options for Student Recording & Reflecting
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable)
- Design Analysis (editable)
- Discussion Questions (editable)
- Design an Experiment: Reducing Friction (editable; sample answers included)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified. You can really do this with little more than cardboard scraps and tape or glue and something to put inside the sled (people or gifts can be symbolized using any number of small objects).
- Cardboard, card stock, cereal box, or paper plates
- Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
- Small bows (2)
- Bows are to symbolize gifts; small candies can be substituted (If you’re doing the Sled & Slope version, you’ll need small people to ride the sleds. Think: little, plastic, green army men. Two riders will work well.)
- Popsicle/craft sticks (10 – 15)
- Rubber bands (5 – 10)
- Foil (12 – 24 in.)
- Straws (5 – 10)
- Tape (12 – 24 in.)
- Ruler or measuring tape
• Wood scraps
• Paper bags
• Coffee filters
• Plastic cutlery
• Balloons (rocket boosters)
• Cable ties
What are teachers saying about this resource?
“My second-graders had a great time with this challenge. It fit in well with our unit on motion, position and force. Thanks!”
“I love these STEM projects. The kids go crazy over them :)”
"I loved how this activity came with a variety of modifications so that I could make it suitable for my students needs. My class loved participating in this activity."
"My 5th graders and their 1st grade STEM buddies really enjoyed this activity! :)"
"My classes loved these activities. They were discussing and figuring out ways to improve their projects too. They learned a lot from these."
"Great cross-curricular activity! I partnered with the 6th-grade math teacher. Students enjoyed the challenge!"
"My students had so much fun doing this task. They got really creative. Thank you."