Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop

Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoopplay
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
Winter STEM Challenge: Snow Scoop
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  1. Got winter activities? Winter STEM Challenges (or STEAM Challenges) engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun! There are five challenges: 3 purely winter STEM activities, 1 Black History Month/ Women’s History Month, and 1 Groundhog Day STEM challenge!The basic premise: Students wo
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  2. Super-charge your STEM class with 52 high-engagement, critical thinking, problem-solving, NGSS-aligned challenges to take you through the entire year! Modifications are included to make these activities engaging and challenging for students in grades 2 - 8. (Two of the 52 challenges are included in
    Save $99.79
Product Description

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

Student Handouts

- Criteria & Constraints List (color and black & white; editable version provided)

- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included)

- Discussion Questions (in 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

– Optional

• Binder clips

• Clothespins

• Rubber bands

• String


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?

“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):


Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle

Frosted Forest

Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Analyze and Interpret Data Unit

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!


Video preview music credit:

"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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Kerry Tracy

Kerry Tracy

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