Winter STEM Activity - Snow Scoop

Rated 4.81 out of 5, based on 181 reviews
181 Ratings
Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
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Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
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Looking for a fun Christmas or winter activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and/or math? Christmas-Winter STEM / STEAM Challenges are the perfect activities because they engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun!

The basic premise:

Working against a criteria/constraints list individually or in partners, students will design a snow scoop to designed for maximum capacity and/or maximum efficiency. Success can be evaluated in one or both of the following ways:

– Largest possible scoop capacity

– Time to clear a 1-inch path in the snow (or to clear the entire yard of snow)


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.

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.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • 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

EDITABLE Student Handouts

  • Criteria & Constraints List (color and black & white)
  • Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)
  • Discussion Questions (color and B&W)

Extension templates

- Classifying Levers Notes (editable)

- Classifying Levers Practice (with answer key)

- Process Flow Map

- Math Extension


This is one of five challenges available in the Late Winter 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.)

  • Snowy Yard
    ~ 12in. X 8 in. x 2 in. pan or box lid
    2 lb. bag of white rice or 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • Paper plate or bowl (to hold the snow from scoop designs for weighing)
  • Craft sticks (3-5)
  • Straws (3-5)
  • Pipe cleaners (3-5)
  • Masking tape (12 – 24 in.)
  • 3x5 in. index card (1)
  • Scissors
  • Scale (if choosing the capacity challenge goal)
  • Stopwatches (if choosing the time to clear snow challenge goal)
  • Design analysis handouts


  • Binder clips
  • Clothespins
  • Rubber bands
  • String


What do teachers have to say about this resource?

“I used this with second through fourth and eighth grade GT students. Students were engaged and wanted to make improvements after measuring "snow". It was loads (lol) of fun and helped with the lesson on simple machines. Great job!”

“Every single detail in this product is planned perfectly. Thank you for a complete and engaging activity!”

“Very thorough and detailed!”

“We had so much fun with this... we used it after an epic number of snow days and told the kids we were out of school so long because we had no way to clear the school parking lot... design perfection”

“Very thorough and challenging. I used with a wide rage of students in STEM class and the material options ensured many different responses from the students.”

“This was a great resource. The walk-through videos make it very easy to just pick up and use with any class. It's easy to differentiate for students of all levels”


You might also like these resources:

STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):


Frosted Forest

Valentine’s Day STEM Activity Bundle

Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE


Please check out the video preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!


Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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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.


Questions & Answers


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