What is a STEM Quest?
What are the Quest subjects?
What do the kids do?
Kids race all over the room to find the clues and try the locks. They have to read, follow directions, be very observant, and THINK!
For some of the tasks, we placed the next items in a tray beside the locked box. When the box is opened, a card inside tells kids to grab the task from the tray and off they go to solve it!
Is there a STEM Challenge?
Build a Spider Cage
Above you see the materials bins lined up and ready for groups to grab. When the team opened that last box they grabbed the next bin in line and got started.
Don’t worry, the spiders were not real. I used plastic spiders from a dollar store. These were actually rings and we cut off the ring part. The kids did the cutting and it was actually their idea. They told me the ring part took up too much space in their cages.
- What if you don’t want to buy locks? I included a set of “paper locks” in the resource. Just copy them and kids fill in circles to “open” the lock. They can have you look at it and then open the box or you can use a keyed lock and give them the key.
- Do you have to use a toolbox? NO! I tried my locks with a cardboard box. I punched holes the box flaps and threaded the lock hasp through each side and it worked fine!
- Isn’t this a lot of work to set up? It took me about 40 minutes to print, laminate, and cut all the pieces. Setting up the spider displays took less than 30 minutes. The best news is this: I saved everything. The next time I use the Spider Quest all I have to do is open the large zippered bag it is stored in and set up the displays.
- What does this look like in the classroom? Total excitement, that’s what. The kids have loved this. They race around to the displays and talk so much about how to use the clues and they work together SO WELL!
- How long does it take? The Quest takes 30-45 minutes and the challenge is the same. My fourth graders take longer. But, here’s another thing- the second Quest we completed went faster. The kids got better at opening the locks and also with finding clues. They learned quickly.
- What are kids saying?
“This is like being a detective!”
“I love these more than just building things.”
“I came to school today hoping we were doing a locked box thing!”
Thank you so much for sticking with this post all the way to the end. I hope you are convinced that a Quest is for you! I have several in my Teachers Pay Teachers store now. They are for 4th – 6th grade. Third-grade versions are on my to-do list!