Winter STEM Activity - Sled and Slope Print and Paperless Bundle

Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
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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.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • 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)

Extension templates

  • 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)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (12 – 24 in.)
  • Ruler or measuring tape


• Wood scraps

• Paper bags

• Coffee filters

• Plastic cutlery

• Balloons (rocket boosters)

• String

• 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."

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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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