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It’s All About Using Those Straws in Your Projects!

A few days ago I was putting together some containers of STEM materials, using straws for the challenge, and heard a student say this:  

“I see straws in those bins. We use a lot of straws!”

Yes, we do! In fact, we use so many straws for challenges that  I asked for straws to be added to our school supply list this year! So now I have one entire cabinet filled with straws. Just for fun, we counted the boxes one day and there were 40. FORTY. That is 4000 straws, just in boxes. There are also smaller boxes and bags, and more bags, and even more boxes.  

Well, I asked for them! Right? But why?  

Let me show a little we have done with straws!

STEM Challenges: Straws are such a great material to use for your STEM projects. They are easy to use, come in many colors and sizes, and they are inexpensive!

This is going to be a quick look at some of our challenges. If possible I have linked these back to blog posts of the past that would give you more details.

STEM Challenge- students use straws to create a maze. Great elementary STEM Challenge.

Mazes!

This is a Quick Challenge called Straw Mazes. The walls of the maze were built of straws. A little bit of tape and that’s about it!

LINK: It’s All Ah-Mazing

Clear tape works better for this maze than masking tape.

Elementary STEM Challenge- using straws as a main material build a tower that will hold a tennis ball aloft.

Tennis Ball Towers

Above is another Challenge called Tennis Ball Towers. This one has some unusual materials and a surprising constraint- kids must use all the materials. They get so creative!

I have seen some very clever uses of the materials that were decorative rather than functional.

Elementary STEM Challenge- using straws as a main material build a container that will hold an egg to be dropped with a parachute.

Parachutes

Above kids are making a container to hold an egg. It was then dropped with a parachute! So, of course, we called this one Egg Parachutes!

LINK: Egg-Static Over These Projects

Elementary STEM Challenge- using straws as a main material build a hoop flyer. Experiment with changing the variables and then build the ultimate hoop flyer.

Hoop Flyers

This is one of our most recent challenges! We made hoop flyers and experimented with changing variables. It was spectacular!

I love watching students experiment and then design based on test results!

  So, now, you ask, 

“Why do we use so many straws?”

Because, my friends, they do not cost very much! I have FIFTEEN classes of STEM each week. I cannot spend a lot of money.   

Advice: Ask parents to send in straws. And another little giblet of knowledge for you is this: The best straw you can get is from the Dollar Tree!

For those of you wondering about the waste and where all this plastic ends up- we reuse straws so many times. I save the pieces in large containers and we use them over and over!

So what are you waiting for? Get some straws!

STEM Challenges: Straws are such a great material to use for your STEM projects. They are easy to use, come in many colors and sizes, and they are inexpensive!

Comments

  1. AJ's Weight Loss and other things (maybe) says

    I started a STEM club this year and the kids loved straws and making things with them. We had platforms for holding weight, towers to hold baseballs (I coach so I had a bucket full) and will be making boats during our last STEM meeting. Thanks for you blog site and Pins.

  2. Justin Price says

    Thanks for sharing these STEM challenges. I just wanted to share I've walked into several fast food restaurants on the way to my school, told them I was a teacher, and that I needed straws for a project, and they've never turned me down.

  3. Carol Davis says

    What a great idea! I have gotten pizza boxes from a restaurant, but I will definitely try straws- especially milk shake straws! Thank you!