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Winter_Christmas STEM Challenge: Frozen Fortress

Grade Levels
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
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28.39 MB   |   30+ pages

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Looking for a fun Christmas or winter activity that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and/or math?

The basic premise:
Working against a criteria/constraints list in partners or groups, students will design and build a “snowball” fortress wall with two main criteria: greatest area (or just height or length for younger students) and ability to withstand a “snowball” attack.

Multiple iterations are recommended to get the most student benefit, but this can also be treated as a one-off activity.

Note: This product was updated November 2, 2016. Be sure to re-download to get all the new goodies! :)
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This is one of five Winter / Christmas STEM Challenges. They can be purchased in a bundle at a great discount:

Winter_Christmas 5-in-1 STEM Challenge Bundle (2nd – 8th)

This resource is also available in the STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE at an even greater discount!

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Benefits of this STEM Design Challenge:
- Focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learning
- 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 approximately 60 min. if you are including data gathering and analysis rather than just building for fun. I recommend working on STEM Design Challenges in multiple iterations to get the full value.

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Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.

Sample/suggested materials:

– Marshmallows: large, mini, or a mix (35 – 50)
• Sugar cubes or blocks can be substituted for building the fortress wall, but at least one marshmallow per student will still be needed for a “snowball” attack.
– Straws (10 – 15)
– Popsicle/craft sticks (10 – 15)
– Toothpicks (25 – 50)
– Small paper plates (1 or ½ of one)
– Ruler
– Scissors
– Work mat (construction paper, foil, newspaper, etc.)
– Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts
Optional:
– Plastic knives, forks, and/or spoons
– Pipe cleaners
– String
– Foil
– Spool of wire (gardening or steel)
– Tape

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Product includes:


NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

- Links to my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Premise & Set-up
- Materials and timing
- Modifying Criteria & Constraints to adjust challenge difficulty
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list & links
- A video walk-through of this challenge will be posted & linked Dec. 22, 2016

Student Handouts
- Criteria & Constraints List (editable version provided)
- Design Analysis Handouts (Two versions & sets included: 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students for two different challenge goals)
- Discussion Questions

Extension templates
- Arctic/Antarctic Animal Adaptation Research Handout (editable)
- Cold Synonyms, Antonyms, Similes, & Metaphors Handouts (editable)
- Process Flow Map
- Math Extension

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What are teachers saying about Frozen Fortress?

"Can't wait to introduce this challenge to my students. I love that all of your challenges are so engaging. Easy to follow instructions and clear connections to the standards.”

“A great activity for the week before Christmas break. It was messy fun for them and perfectly challenging.”

“Great for the winter doldrums!”

“My students LOVED this activity! Great fun!”


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You may also like these products:

STEM CHALLENGE YEAR-ROUND MEGA-BUNDLE

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

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Frosted Forest

Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Christmas Parts of Speech Activity (2nd – 3rd)

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

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Getting Started with STEM Challenges FREEBIE
Total Pages
30+
Answer Key
N/A
Teaching Duration
1 hour

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Winter_Christmas STEM Challenge: Frozen Fortress
Winter_Christmas STEM Challenge: Frozen Fortress
Winter_Christmas STEM Challenge: Frozen Fortress
Winter_Christmas STEM Challenge: Frozen Fortress