In this 2-D simulation of a 3-D task, students arrange items with different point values into pre-defined car trunk spaces. They can’t have it all, though! They’ll use a criteria & constraints list to bring all of what they need and some of what they want, as they aim for the highest point value.
This challenge is great for the end of the school year because it can be super-simple, but also allows you to add layers of complexity to challenge students of all ages.
|You’ll need trunk templates & summer items to pack.|
Where Can I Find Out More?
If you’re familiar with my work, you know I’ve been switching over to using video to explain the bulk of my challenges. It seems to be the best/fastest way to explain the important details: materials, set-up, tips, modifications, extensions, demonstrations, and more! Who has time to read all that, especially at the end of the school year?! However, if you prefer to read, you’ll find the video transcribed at the end of this post.
Are There Other End of the School Year & Summer Challenges Like This?
Additionally, you can find even more STEM challenges in my Mega Bundle, on this blog, and on my YouTube channel!
there, since we last saw each other you are now one week closer to the end of
the school year. Don’t worry you’ve got this and if you don’t, hopefully I’ve
got something to make it a little bit easier for you. We are now in week two of
the summer STEM challenges and this week we are taking a 3D task and giving it
a 2D representation with Pick and Pack.
guessed it, students are getting ready for a road trip and they need to pick
and choose the items that they can bring with them that will fit in the trunk
of the car. You’re probably going to want to do this challenge in partners but
before I get too much more ahead of myself, let’s take a second to check out
the materials and 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.
don’t own the pick and pack resource, the first thing you’re going to want to
do is take a trip through your own clip art libraries and mine out some summer,
picnic, barbecue, beach type items. Once you’ve gotten your new clip art
collection together you’re going to want to assign point values to each item.
Then you’ll also want to create a few different car trunks shaped templates.
this is a 2D representation of a 3D task, there are some things that are not
quite perfect and you can let students know that that’s just part of the design
challenge. Of course we wouldn’t keep the beach ball or the raft or the inner
tube inflated. We would deflate those and we wouldn’t have a towel all unfurled
like this taking up that much room and you will just tell your students to let
it go. Or maybe you won’t because you don’t want them to start singing that.
goal for this challenge is to get the highest point value possible in each
trunk while still meeting the criteria and constraints of the challenge. They
must bring at least one item for clothing, food, drink, sun protection and fun.
You can require that any food or drink item be kept in the upper half of each
trunk shape in order to make the food more accessible and prevent it from
the items in the trunk must be face up so that you can see their point value.
Items may not overlap with each other or go beyond the edge of the trunk
perimeter. Of course you can choose to just have the students work with one
trunk shape or you can give them several different options and see how they do
with each shape.
have older students you’re definitely going to want to add some difficulty.
First thing you can do is tell them they need to plan a road trip that will
include obviously two long car rides. Four people will be present and they will
be at the beach for the weekend, and then you can start going a little bit
crazy with the point values.
can require say that three items with prime number values are used. An odd
numbered item may only be adjacent to one other odd numbered item. You can add a
criterion that an item must be adjacent to at least one other it shares a
common factor with. A six can be adjacent to a one, two, three or six.
every time a perfect square is used, it must be adjacent to its square root.
You could add a requirement for items along the perimeter or circumference of
each trunk. A few ideas for that would be only evens, only odds, only primes,
only composites, alternating evens and odds, or primes and composites. Factors
of 12 or powers of 2.
measure results on this, the students are simply going to add up the point
values of everything in the trunk. If your students have access to a digital
camera or their phones, I like to let them take photographs as they’re trying
different configurations so they can keep track of what would be the best
design. And that’s going to be a lot easier than sketching out every
configuration they come up with.
also going to need to check to make sure that they have met all the criteria
and constraints. Now if you’re looking to save some time, don’t bother having
students glue down their final designs. It’s not really necessary, particularly
if they had a camera to take a photograph of it. On the flip side maybe you’re
actually looking to keep them a little bit occupied so you can start packing up
your classroom. In which case, by all means give them all the different trunk
shapes, have them try all the different variations, glue everything down, make
lovely sketches. This can take a long time if you want it to, it just doesn’t
extend on this you can have students present their best trunk design
configurations and the sum of the point values. The students can then find the
mean, median, mode and range of that data. They could also do any number of
graphing activities based on that. You can have students categorize the clip
art items so food, things for fun, things for work. They could then find the
subtotals of the points for each category and create pie charts, but my
favorite extension for this challenge is to have students plan a three day, two-night
road trip for a family of four.
have a budget of $2,000 and they can go wherever they choose, but the trip
again is only three days and two nights. They’re not going to want to spend the
whole time in the car. When everyone’s trips are planned, have the groups
present to the rest of the class to try to sell other students on their
want, you could even make it a contest and have each student vote for which
vacation he or she would like to buy. You now have all the basics for the pick
and pack challenge, but you’re definitely going to want to take a second to
check out this resource. It’s going to save you a ton of time.
time saving resource contains everything you need including modifications for
use for second through eighth graders. You’ll still need to gather the simple
materials of course but the rest is ready and waiting. 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 Pick and Pack Materials list.
Teacher Tips you’ll find premise and set up, how to increase or decrease
difficulty through the Criteria and Constraints list, measuring results and
cross-curricular extension suggestions. You’ll find two levels of editable
Criteria and Constraints list so you can tailor the challenge to your students.
You’ll also get items for your students to pick and trunks for them to pack.
student design analysis 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 task card templates and samples and road trip
planning sheets. As well as math extension and process flow templates.
resource is available individually and as part of the discounted Summer and Mega
STEM challenge bundles. Links can be found in the description below the video.
I hope you and your students have a great time doing the pick and pack
challenge. Make sure you’re following my store on Teachers Pay Teachers or
subscribe on YouTube. I will be back next time with keep it cool, make it melt.
Have a great week! I’ll see you next time.