Maybe Rome wasn’t built in a day, but New Earth City can be! This challenge is perfect for Earth Day, but it can really be used any time of the year. Fun fact: my master’s degree is in design-based learning, which shares many similarities with the engineering design process. This city-building challenge was my gateway drug into the STEM Challenge world. (More on that can be found here.)
become overcrowded. The students are part of a pioneering crew tasked with
setting up the first city (New Earth City) on Planetopia, a fictional name for
a recently discovered Earth-like planet in a distant solar system. Part of the
mission is to set up the city to prevent or address the problems we are having
on Earth so we don’t repeat our errors on our new home planet. This
challenge is best done in teams or partners due to time and space constraints.
- 12 x 12 in. cardboard or foam board
- Serves as a parcel of Planetopia land. Feel free to go larger, but smaller is tough for students to manage.
- Plastic shopping bags (5)
- Pipe cleaners (12 – 24)
- Craft sticks (5 – 10)
- Paper or note cards
- Yarn or string
- Tape (24 – 26 in.)
- Data Measurement & Design Analysis handouts (included in resource)