What kiddo doesn't want to launch something across the room?! In this challenge, students work to launch an alien the greatest distance using everyday materials. This is a challenge that can easily be adapted to different age groups and a variety of circumstances such as needing substitute plans or just beginning the wonderful world of STEM.
Student teams are challenged to navigate a table tennis ball through a timed obstacle course using only the provided unconventional “tools.” Teams act as engineers by working through the steps of the engineering design process to complete the overall task with each group member responsible to accomplish one of the obstacle course challenges. Inspired by the engineers who helped the Apollo 13 astronauts through critical problems in space, students must be innovative with the provided supplies to use them as tools to move the ball through the obstacles as swiftly as possible. Groups are encouraged to communicate with each other to share vital information. The course and tool choices are easily customizable for varied age groups and/or difficulty levels. Pre/post assessment handouts, competition rules and judging rubric are provided.
Looking for a fun and engaging way for your students to work on collaboration and using the engineering design process? STEM Challenge: Marshmallow Tower is for you! Simple and cheap materials and little prep required.