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Christmas and Winter STEM activities are the perfect way to engage your students in brain-busting work disguised as fun when they've got those winter crazies!
This STEM Challenge works for in-class and distance learning. The materials are incredibly simple and everyone can build their own sled & slope, if needed.
Sled & Slope Winter STEM Challenge Activity Overview:
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 "" version for a winter (non-Christmas) activity as well as a "" version for Christmas included.
Note: This is the printable version, though you can upload the editable handouts to Google Slides™ if desired. However, if you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you may prefer the digital option designed specifically for use with GOOGLE SLIDES™ 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.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- 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 (two sets: one for Sleigh & Slope Christmas STEM Activity and one for Sled & Slope Winter STEM Activity)
- Criteria & Constraints List (in color and black & white)
- Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included) (in color and black & white)
- Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)
- Design an Experiment: Reducing Friction (editable; sample answers included)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension
This is one of five Winter / Christmas STEM Challenge Activities. They can be purchased in a bundle at a 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.)
- Cardboard, cardstock, 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 do teachers have to say about this resource?
" My classes loved these activities. They were discussing and figuring out ways to improve their projects too. They learned a lot from these.”
“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 :)”
You might also like these resources:
STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):