Are you looking for easy and engaging Sports ideas for STEM? I have you covered, but first…
Ready for some truth? About a year ago I was looking for ideas for Thanksgiving STEM projects to complete a STEM by the Month series. Everything I found was about turkeys and Pilgrims and the Mayflower. It also really looked like those topics were covered! I wanted something different. And, I really wanted some seasonal (Fall) STEM projects to be versatile enough to use at other times of the year.
Then something lovely happened. I noticed that the end of October is just jam-packed full of sporting events. What if we tried some Sports-related challenges. What sports are going on in the Fall? Football, basketball, and soccer. BAM! A new seasonal packet was born! And, yes, you can use these sporting events all year long! And, definitely, yes, these challenges are easy and engaging!
Could we make a basketball goal?
Absolutely! This challenge has two parts- first build the basketball goal and then a tossing device to make the goal.
Let me just tell you how much the kids loved testing these devices. You could hear us cheering all over the place every time someone actually scored. There was definitely a learning curve to these gadgets!
There was also the little matter of using a piece of tulle for the net. The kids had so many inventive ways of adding the netting for their net. It was a little tricky!
I learned that the really fine netting was very flimsy. So, I found some that was stiffer and it worked really well. Best of all it was on a roll and easily cut into smaller pieces for each group.
Roll Tide! or War Eagle…
Or whatever cheer you need for your favorite team. Here in Alabama we really only have two choices. On to the football challenge!
For the football challenge, the groups also had two parts. They had to make the football goal post and a device to “kick” the football. We loved this one as much as the basketball goal.
The final sporting event was soccer. With the test class we found this one to be really simple, so of course I made the task rules tougher for other classes.
For the test class, the soccer ball kicker could be handheld. For later classes, the kicker had to be attached to the goal and could move only side to side. It made this task a lot tougher!
We loved sharing our finished goal and goalposts and soccer nets. It was just so fun to have every group share its device and then show us how they worked. Lots of cheering in the lab that week.
So, if you are ready to get away from traditional turkeys and Pilgrims for Thanksgiving- here’s the perfect answer! These challenges were fabulous and so engaging!
The best news is the ease of materials for all three of these! A lot of craft sticks, straws, pipe cleaners, a little piece of netting, and a bag of ping pong balls will do it! Play Ball!
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