Quick and easy to set up- isn’t that what teachers need- all the time!
STEM Challenges can be daunting and I know that since a lot of the ones we complete have a lot of materials and take two-three class sessions to finish. But Quick Challenges are not like that at all. They are exactly as advertised– Quick and fairly easy.
This fabulous STEM Challenge is one that kids love and beg to do again. They love propelling things through the air! We call this one Pom-Pom Blasters!
Easy Materials, Easy Prep, Fast Challenge
Pom-pom Blasters is one you can throw together on the spur of the moment or leave with a substitute.
Unusual Materials, but they work!
With Pom-Pom Blasters the students have some really unusual materials, like cups and craft sticks and, of course, a pom-pom. They need to invent a way to propel that pom-pom through the air.
Will a sling shot work?
I have seen all shapes and sizes of blasters when kids work on this challenge. There is always a team that makes a sling shot. There is almost always a team that will try to make the pom-pom pop out of the bottom of the cup by hitting it in some way. This always surprises them when it doesn’t work! In one of the photos above a team made a slingshot that was a wide device and it actually worked well. One of the hardest problems to solve with this one is how to hold the pom-pom in the device so that it will fly when you let it go.
Can we just make something to blow the pom-pom out?
The blasters in the above photos are ones that you blow in to make the pom-pom fly out. The kids used their straws as blow tubes but ran them through cups first.
The one above has a spring made of craft sticks and when you push down on the cup and let go, it pops up and the pom-pom flies.
I love watching kids with this challenge because they solve it so differently than I would. Their determination to make the wonky materials work is amazing.
This is a quick, easy prep challenge you can throw together on the fly!
One more idea…
Another idea with my Quick Challenges is to make the bins of materials, place the task card inside, and leave these for your early finishers or kids that need something to make them think!