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- Gold chocolate coins (5 – 10)
- Almond Hershey’s Kisses or Rolos are a good alternate – easier to find and often less expensive
- Small cups, bowls, or coffee filters (1 – 3)
- Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
- String/yarn (24 – 36 in.)
- Shoeboxes and/or cardboard scraps (distributed evenly among groups)
- Craft sticks (5 – 10)
- Tape (12 – 24 in.)
- Rubber bands (5 – 10)
- Design analysis handouts (included in resource)
- Leprechaun Lore List (included in resource)
- Plastic baggies (1 – 2)
- Clothespins (2 – 4)
- Paperclips (10 – 20)
- Straws (5 – 10)
- Toothpicks (10 – 20)
- Brass brads/fasteners (2 – 4)
- Single hole-punch
Are There Other St. Patrick’s Day Activities & Challenges Like This?
Of course! I can’t help myself! I have created 5 challenges for St. Pat’s! You can find the overview of each on this blog post. Each challenge is linked to the post linked above, so be sure to check it out!
Also, please reach out with any questions and tag me in photos of your students’ work on Facebook & Instagram if you want to give me a smile this season!
Available for purchase on this site and on TpT. Click through for details!
there, we are on week two of the St. Patrick’s Day STEM challenges. This one is
Guard the Gold. We’re taking the point of view of the leprechaun and trying to
defend the gold from thieves. Before I get ahead of myself let’s take a look at
the materials in the STEM Challenge Cycle.
is the STEM Challenge Cycle you should follow for every challenge. I’ve defined
each step in another video. I’ve added a pop-in card to that video here, as
well as, a link in the description.
saw in the materials that we need to have some gold, and I like these candies
best. Hershey’s Almond or the gold coins work really well for this challenge.
Remember, the more variety you provide in the materials, the more variety
you’ll get in the student designs. But you don’t need to provide every single
material you saw on the photo just now.
the students are trying to do in this challenge is move the gold from one pot
to another pot that’s at least six inches away. Ideally both pots of gold would
be concealed from potential thieves, but certainly the last pot needs to be. I
do have student incorporate elements from the Leprechaun Lore List just as last
week, and I’ll link that video. If you didn’t get a chance to see that you want
to check it out. The main constraint here is that no harm should come to any
thieves. Trying to avoid students creating booby traps that would kill a
potential thief, and really focus on moving the gold and hiding the gold
instead. I don’t want to get violent.
increase the difficulty on this you can increase the distance that the gold has
to be moved. You can require specific examples of simple machines, so perhaps
they have to use a first class lever. You can add a weight constraint, so you
would the students weigh the gold by itself before they do any design, and then
weigh the final design all together and say that maybe it can’t be more than
150% of the weight of the original gold. You can also turn this into more of a
Rube Goldberg challenge and have the students design something where the
leprechaun can trigger a chain of events to move the gold and maybe require
there be three events.
measure results on this just have students track the time it takes to move the
gold from point A to point B. Of course allow for the possibility that students
may be partially successful here. It’s possible that not all of the gold will
make it into the pot. Some might fall out along the way or get stuck or jammed.
I have students write that in on their recording sheets, so the time it takes
for most of it to transfer and then they would note some pieces fell out and
that would be an area where they could improve their design.
right, let’s take this for a test spin.
option is to have students write a story about treasure seekers looking for
leprechaun gold, and then when they’re done with it write that same story from
the flip side. Same exact story, but from the point of view of the leprechaun.
Now in order to save time on this, instead of having the students write two
stories by themselves, you can keep them in their groups, have them come up
with a general plot diagram for what’s going to happen in the story and then
once the group has the basic plot diagram done split that group in half and
have half of them write it from the point of view of the treasure hunters and
the other half write it from the point of view of the leprechaun.
course we know that leprechauns tend to hide their gold at the end of rainbows
so this is a natural opportunity to study rainbows and the visible light spectrum,
and once they’ve learned about rainbows have them write an argument for or
against leprechauns hiding their gold at the end of the rainbow.
are ready to conduct Guard the Gold in your class, but definitely take a second
to check out the resource. There are a lot of extra goodies. Guard your time.
This resource contains everything you need including modifications for use with
second through eighth graders. You’ll still need to gather the simple materials
of course, but the rest has been done. You’ll get Aligned Next Generation
Science Standards, links to my STEM challenge How-to videos to help you get the
most from each challenge and the Guard the Gold Material list. In Teacher Tips
you’ll find premise and set up, how to increase or difficulty through the
criteria and constraints list, measuring results and cross-curricular extension
find an editable Criteria and Constraints list so you can tailor the challenge
to your students, as well as, a Leprechaun Lore List. For student handouts
there are two versions. Four-page expanded room for response for younger
students and a two-page, condensed space paper saver version. You’ll also find
a set of group discussion questions. In the Extension Handouts you’ll find a
rainbow research log as well as math extension and process flow templates. This
resource is available individually and is part of the discounted St. Patrick’s
Day and Mega STEM challenge bundles. Links can be found in the description
below the video.
forget to like and subscribe. I’m going to be back next time with the partner
challenge for this. It is called Get the Gold. Have a great week. I’ll see you