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6 Engaging Ways to Close Out the Year

The school year’s end is fast approaching and if you are like me it’s time for Panic Mode!  

How on earth are you going to get everything finished and keep the kids busy and engaged with meaningful work and still have some end-of-the-year fun?   Is this even possible?  

Well, I have some ideas for you!

Highly engaging and fun ideas to end your school year with meaningful work. This post includes six resources that will keep your kids working together and enjoying the last few weeks of school as they complete a STEM challenge or two and maybe an end of the year memory flip book. The challenges are kid favorites, easy to prepare, and one of them is a free resource! The little Flipper booklet is fun to complete and will have students looking back on their great year!

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

Probably the most common word I hear about STEM projects is this one: ENGAGED!  

And it’s the truth! A STEM challenge is inherently engaging. Every student has a job to do and all the jobs lead to one thing: completing the task. I took a really good look at my resources and I know these projects are kid favorites. Which one will you try?


Oh my, we have tried this one a few times and it is always a much-loved task. Students use a shoe box to design a foosball table model. You only need a few materials and before you know it the kids will be in the middle of fierce competitions!

Craft sticks, dowels sticks or straws, some markers, and masking tape is about all you will need!

  If you want to read more about this one I have a blog post about it: Foosball Post!  

And, this resource is available in my TpT store as a FREEBIE!

STEM Foosball! This challenge will have students building a foosball model that has two teams trying to kick a ball or marble. Students create the foosball players, design the format of the players, and add details to make the set fun. Grab a FREEBIE STEM challenge on this blog post that will get you set up to try this in your classroom. The resource includes teacher directions, lab sheets, and a rubric. Forms are editable! Let the competitions begin!


All about bubbles! Bubbles, Bubbles, Everywhere! Kids love bubbles! This STEM Challenge has elements of fun, but also a great design and building challenge. After exploring with bubbles students will design and test their own bubble wands! This STEM Challenge will have your students exploring with a bubble solution.  Then the design challenge takes the fun one step further as students create a way to make the largest or most unusual bubbles they can using the bubble wand they design and build.

Again, oh my goodness, kids love this one so much. Spring and summertime are perfect for completing this one outdoors, but we always do it inside.   It starts off with just an exploration of bubbles and creating domes and joining bubbles on the table tops.  

  The design part of the challenge will have kids creating their own bubble wands using a variety of materials. Testing their devices is so much fun!   This one would be perfect for an unexpected rainy day in May- maybe even use this for your end of the year party!

Solar Ovens

Seriously, if you are looking for engagement look no further than this one! It involves experimenting and then eating. Kid Heaven!

Students use a cardboard oven and experiment with different lining materials to create the best model and then cook s’mores!

Read more about Solar Ovens on this blog post.

STEM Challenges for elementary students! Students will experiment with heat-resistant materials and then use their test results to design the best oven possible. This is so exciting as they troop outside to test the materials, record the temperatures of the ovens, & choose the materials to design the best oven. Finally, they put together a chocolate treat and use the sun to help cook the item. This STEM resource includes detailed teacher directions, photos, lab sheets, and rubrics.

Water Slides

In this STEM challenge, students will be using materials to plan design a working water slide that will take a toy figure down the slide- without leaking water. The main materials for the slide part are not waterproof so students plan ahead for ways to line their slide so it won’t leak. The slide must also resemble a slide and have an access point- like a ladder. Students will use the steps of the Engineering Design Process as you follow the pages of detailed & labeled teacher directions pages.

When my third graders see this one listed on our agenda they go crazy. It is a challenge that they look forward to every year!   Get your towels ready for this one because there will be water….everywhere!   It is so much fun, though! The kids get so excited when it is time to pour the water down the slide. There will be groaning when leaks happen and there will be cheering (and some surprise) when the slide actually works.

Read more about Water Slides on this blog post.

Ferris Wheels

This one is mesmerizing to watch. Students have so many ways of making the frame of the Ferris Wheel and they will persist with this one until it works!  

It only uses a few materials so it’s easy to prepare. The engagement is huge with this project and kids get to take the final Ferris Wheels home! (I usually let each team decide a fair way to determine which team member will take the Ferris Wheel. We display them for a week or two first.)   Read more about Ferris Wheels on this blog post.

In this challenge, students will be using craft sticks and glue to make a spinning Ferris Wheel. The wheel has two sides and students must be diligent in making the sides match. Also, the two sides must be joined together with a central turning rod or axle. Add making a frame to hold the wheel aloft and you have a truly spectacular STEM challenge. Students will use the steps of the Engineering Design Process as you follow the pages of detailed and labeled teacher directions pages.

End of the Year Memory Flippers

And finally, for those moments that you just need your sweet ones to sit still for a little while and still be engaged, try a Little Flipper all about the school year. This one has two versions of the pages- with different amounts of writing and different images to color.   Just pick the pages you need and copy- it only takes four copies per student!

Click on any of the images to see these resources in my store!   I hope you have some ideas for adding a little STEM to your end of the year plans! Have a spectacular last few weeks of school!

Our Favorite STEM Picture Books

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