As I’m writing this blog post, there is a lot of stress in California and states around the country as many schools are closing due to COVID 19. A lot of uncertainty for how to proceed during this time. It is a great opportunity to spend time with close family doing fun activities. To ease some of the stress, I’ve created a list of STEM ideas and activities for teachers (or parents) to utilize at home during this time.
Challenge #1: Pinball STEM!
Design a Pinball machine that contains the following properly-functioning parts: flippers, drain, holes, bumpers, and plunger. For extending learning, students can decide to incorporate a spring in the design of their plunger. Students must be able to successfully launch the ball using the plunger. They must have a certain number of obstacles such as bumpers an holes that award points to the player. The flippers must be able to function in preventing the ball from reaching the drain. (scroll to the bottom of the post to learn more!)
Challenge #2: Mini Golf STEM!
Design a Mini Golf (one hole) that can be successfully completed in one stroke (a hole in one!). They must also craft a putter. Certain types of angles and obstacles in the course are required in their design.
Challenge #3: Design a Balloon Rocket Car!
Design a bottle rocket or car that is propelled only by the air from a balloon. Students must decide what materials they want to use and how they are going to use them. Students do not need to use all materials listed. Students must complete this task within two days and can create multiple prototypes to test.
Challenge #4: Construct a Trampoline!
Construct a trampoline that can bounce an object (such as a marble) after being dropped from 12 inches (1 ft) high. They must measure the height of the bounce and build the contraption that creates the highest bounce.
Challenge #5: Code a Video Game!
This challenge requires working together to plan and design a game with characters, obstacles, and commands. The game must have an objective with a starting point and a finishing point. It is up to the group how detailed they would like their game to be. Once the board is put together, students will split into their two groups – the players and the programmers. The programmers will be in charge of developing the game – placing the obstacles, characters, and writing down the commands in the exact order that will allow the players to win the game. It is up to the programmers how difficult they want their game to be. (More directions are found in the resource)
Challenge #6: Design a Foosball Table!
Construct a functioning foosball table that has at least 12 players (6 per player) and 6 rods. (3 per player) Students must be able to push, pull, and turn the rods properly to move the players. The players must be secure enough to not fall off and hit the ball properly. There must be two opposing goals that the ball can be knocked into by the players. (More directions are found in the resource)
You can download all the challenges in one large pack, here!
Each STEM Challenge has photo examples, a list of materials needed, prediction section, brainstorming section, trials 1, 2, & 3, final results section with drawings, and a reflection section.