You’ve done it. You’ve survived the first several weeks of school! Your procedures are in place. The students know your high expectations. Once October rolls around, a little fun is in order, don’t you think? But not just any kind of fun — fun with substance! Fun you can feel good about in your classroom because it’s collaborative, hands-on, brain-busting work (disguised as fun)!
I can freely admit it: I have become a STEM Design Challenge junkie. I can be found at the Dollar Tree at odd hours trolling the aisles for inspiration. And there is much budget-friendly inspiration to be found!
Dollar Tree except a large box of craft sticks, which was cheaper elsewhere. Of course, I know many schools are prohibited from doing Halloween-themed activities and projects in their rooms. The good news is, each of these can be tweaked to be anytime challenges, as I explain on each challenge’s individual blog post.
I recommend one challenge per day or week leading up to Halloween, or even all challenges in one day-long 5-event pentathlon! STEM challenges are always most beneficial when done in multiple iterations, but they can always be treated as one-off activities as well.
Note: The titles of each challenge below is clickable and will lead you to more information along with a video walk-through where you’ll get additional details, tips, and tricks. Tricks — get it? See what I did there? 🙂
Essentially a paper airplane challenge, students cut, fold, and tape (tape optional) the handout to fashion new wings for the bat body.
In partners or groups, students design a device to catch as many “creatures” as they can over a given area.
In partners or groups, students build a bridge of “bones” (q-tips).
Students work in partners or groups to create a ghost transporter that lifts “ghosts” (cotton balls or marshmallows) from the ground to the top of a simple pulley.
Wondering if printable or paperless is the way to go? Check out this post.
Save yourself time and energy (and use it to head over to your dollar store!) by picking up the prepared challenge lessons (linked above), which include teacher notes/guide, modifications, student handouts, NGSS Standards, extensions and more.
Need just one more reason? Check out this teacher’s feedback on the resource: