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What a Winning Combo! Sports and STEM!

Are you ready for a winning combo? We tried three sports-related challenges recently and WOW this was a big hit!  

The challenges were challenging, but the results were spectacular.  

The Perfect Combo- Sports and STEM- this post features STEM Challenges that are sports-related! The competitions will be fierce!

So, here we go with 3 ways to add some sports to your STEM class and 2 great hints about materials! This should get your students jumping with excitement and ready to compete!

In this challenge, students will design and build a basketball goal that must be the correct size to allow a ping pong ball to pass through the hoop.

Let’s Shoot Some Hoops!

The first one we tried was about basketball. The goals were trickier to make than we expected!   Especially, the net.  

You could definitely tell which students had used tulle before. Those were our experts.

It was fun to watch them mold that netting to their baskets! 

In this challenge, students will design and build a basketball goal that must be the correct size to allow a ping pong ball to pass through the hoop.

Kids also had to build a device to try to make a basket. You could hear us cheering all over the place every time someone actually scored. There was definitely a learning curve to these gadgets!

Of course, we had to design a completion bracket and have the STEM playoffs! This took some time because some teams had to rebuild parts of their devices that came apart during the matches!

So, what did we use for the sports balls?

Let’s pause with the STEM challenges for a moment while I tell you about my goof up with this series of challenges.  

The photo is linked to Amazon for you in case you need a set but first I have a funny story for you…

Which kind of bouncing ball will work best with STEM Challenges? Check this post!

I had some little rubber balls that look like soccer and basketball balls that I planned to use for these challenges. But I didn’t have a football. So, I headed to Amazon.com because you can buy anything there. Seriously.

The description (on Amazon) said the balls were 2.5 inches in diameter and I was super excited. Like wouldn’t those be perfect?!

Uh, no, they were not perfect. Because diameter and circumference are very different which means the balls were maybe slightly, okay a lot, too big. You can see in the above photo that they were just too much. The smaller balls are all ping pong balls or the size of ping pong balls. And by the way, we found that a regular ping pong ball worked great!

In this challenge, students will design and build a goal post that must be a specific size and create a device that will kick the football through the uprights!

Are You Ready for Some Football?

On to FOOTBALL! The next sports challenge was to build a goal and a kicker. Now, we went ahead and tried those giant footballs and the kids loved them. They were just harder to use with the catapulting devices the kids had built. They tried them a lot anyway, just because they looked like real footballs.

The hardest part of the football challenge was getting that goal post to stand up. Kids tried all kinds of genius ways to prop it up. They also had to make a kicking device and used the materials very creatively to make something to propel those little footballs.  

And before I forget this…….   We used a lot of craft sticks for this one! In fact, we use craft sticks all the time. Or straws. Or both.

Speaking of craft sticks.

I get a lot of them donated to our lab, but when I purchase them it’s always in a giant box like this one. They last forever and we recycle- meaning we take things apart and reuse the sticks! Get the giant box. Don’t be fooled by those little packs at the Dollar Tree. Get the big box.

STEM Challenge - Design and build a soccer goal and a movable goalie that will attempt to block shots.

Gooooooaaaaaalllllllllll!!!!

Finally, it was time for soccer. Coincidentally, our students were in the middle of our annual school soccer tournament.  They were very excited about making the soccer goals and a goalie to block kicks. The best part was the way in which the goalie was decorated. They made crazy hair and green hair and labeled their shirts with famous soccer player’s names. Total fun!

So, there you are! Three great sports challenges and two fabulous ideas about materials you can try. Click on any of the images to see more details about these STEM Challenges!  

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The Perfect Combo- Sports and STEM- this post features STEM Challenges that are sports-related! The competitions will be fierce!

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that with your purchase of items Amazon will pass on small percentages to me. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!