Congratulations, teacher! You’re almost there. You’ve almost made it to Thanksgiving break, but we all know those last few days can be difficult for you and your students. When everyone is more than ready for a rest and some turkey, focusing on school can be challenging for all. Why consider incorporating a STEM activity for Thanksgiving?
As tempting as it might be to phone it in with some videos and parties, you can’t really afford to waste instructional time. STEM challenges are not only fun but they also promote collaboration among students, ensuring that the learning doesn’t take a back seat to holiday excitement.
In the last month, I’ve described five (5) STEM activities for Thanksgiving that followed the journey of people meeting their basic needs:
– Mini Mayflower / Mini Mishoon (Get to where you’re going)
– Protect the People (Build a shelter)
– Pumpkin Picker (Gather available food)
– Corn Cultivator (Set up sustainable food source)
– Turkey Transporter (Once all major needs are met, there’s time for fun!)
With basic needs met, it’s time to let loose and have a little fun with this STEM activity for Thanksgiving – Turkey Transporter!
In this engaging STEM activity for Thanksgiving, students will have the chance to flex their creative muscles either on their own or in pairs or groups. Their mission? Design and construct a way to safely transport a turkey across a specified vertical or horizontal distance. The distances could vary, from the classroom width, to 15 feet, or even from the top of a stairwell down to the ground.
Now, here’s the exciting twist: this project can be tackled in two distinctive ways. There are two sets of criteria and constraints to consider. One set focuses on swiftly moving the turkey across a horizontal distance, while the other set emphasizes the need for a gentle and slow descent during a vertical drop. It’s a hands-on challenge that encourages students to think outside the box and showcase their problem-solving skills.
The list of materials you’ll need is short and easily modified, making this STEM activity for Thanksgiving simple to incorporate with very little need for additional prep. You’ll need:
- Copies of Turkey handouts
- Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
- Popsicle/craft sticks (5 – 10)
- Rope and/or string (Equal amount to distance requirement)
- Paper plate(s) and/or bowls
- Coffee filters
- Straws (5 – 10)
- Binder clips (1-3, various sizes)
- Clothespins (3 – 5)
- Measuring tapes (tip: pick up paper measuring tapes from Ikea)
Optional material ideas:
- Cable ties
- Rubber bands
- Small cups
Where Can I Find Out More?
It’s a lot easier to explain these STEM activities for Thanksgiving visually! The video walk-through of Turkey Transporter is embedded below. In it, you’ll find information about materials, modifying difficulty level, extensions and some tips & tricks to guide you, so you can better guide your students through the challenge. Check it out!
This engaging STEM challenge not only captures the holiday spirit but also encourages students to put their problem-solving skills to the test in a fun and collaborative way. With the Turkey Transporter, teachers can inspire their students to think creatively, work together, and learn valuable STEM principles, all while embracing the festive atmosphere of Thanksgiving.
Where are the others?
This is the fifth of five Thanksgiving STEM Challenges. You’ll find all the Thanksgiving STEM challenges in the 5-challenge bundle briefly described in this post. Each challenge post is linked there for the walk-through videos and more details. You can also find this Fall and Thanksgiving Turkey STEM activity alone (top left) or in a bundle of 5 Thanksgiving STEM activities (top right). You may also like the Fall STEM Activities Bundle & the Halloween STEM Activities Bundle.
You can also find the Turkey Transporter STEM activity on Etsy!