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Can’t Miss Easy STEM Challenges

If this is your first foray into STEM you are in for a treat. These challenges are easy to set up, great fun, and oh-so-loved! These are sure-fire winners- not to be missed!

Easy STEM Challenges that can be prepared quickly with no fuss! The best news is that kids love them and you will, too! Small prep, easy to gather materials- win-win!

The Truth!

These 5 challenges are:

  • all just loads of fun 
  • have easy materials and easy prep
  • great for lots of age groups 
  • fabulous for any time of year

Some may require more materials to gather and some have one main material- with a little bit of tape! The truth is you can throw these together and I guarantee kids will be excited and love the event.

Easy STEM -This one day STEM challenge will have your students thinking about volume. After hearing the book read (or talking about volume) students will design and construct a container for a specific amount of popcorn.

Volume with Popcorn

This is one of the easiest STEM challenges for you to prepare!

Kids build a container for a specific amount of popcorn. I have written about this one several times because it’s one of my favorites! You can use a little picture book about popcorn with it or just do the challenge! (The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola)

It’s all about the students’ perception of volume and, let me just tell you, their idea of the volume of a container and what they actually need is vastly DIFFERENT! It’s a great lesson!

PREP: Count out the popcorn that is used to test the containers. I pop one large bag in the microwave and count by fives. It seriously takes 2 minutes. Students only need paper and tape.

Easy STEM - 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!

Bubble Wands

This is a fantastic easy STEM challenge for spring and summer. You can do a lot of the challenge outdoors if your weather is cooperating. I always complete it indoors!

First, kids explore with bubble solution and then they use an array of materials to build their own bubble wand! Kids love this one! It’s perfect for younger kids!

PREP: You do need to mix up the bubble solution and my recipe is in the resource. The items students choose from to make bubble wands is literally whatever you think they will try. I just go through my cabinets and pull out weird junk.

Easy STEM - This is a tower building challenge in which your students will use the simplest of supplies - just newspaper (or brown paper) and tape. The trick is, however, that the tower must bear weight and the weight is a fragile egg.

Egg Towers

You will love this challenge! It uses two materials! Seriously- just TWO!

It has absolutely zero prep. Just lay the stuff out and get going. I use plastic eggs filled with pennies and if the kids have a successful tower we replace the plastic egg with a real one. Oops, that makes it have three materials because you need eggs, too! Anyway, it is quite challenging and then has the added bonus of cracking some eggs! Which by the way, kids love to do!

PREP: Fill plastic eggs with pennies or marbles, or just use a zippered bag. You do not have to have real eggs, but it does make it fun. Students need paper and tape. Easy STEM, right?

Here’s another amazing STEM challenge based on a real life application! It’s a fabulous building event involving dropping fragile cargo! Your students will love the real aspect and scenario of this challenge and they will cheer loudly when their structures work! You will, too!

Cargo Drops

This is a rescue challenge with a great background story. Kids have to build a container to drop cargo from varying heights. The cargo is fragile and cannot move at all.

It is quite challenging but is worth the time. I would do this with 4th-6th graders! My fourth graders loved it, especially the testing part!

Testing involves dropping the structures and hoping the cargo survives.

PREP: Cut the cardboard into small pieces and gather anything you have that students might use to protect the fragile cargo. We use marshmallows, but you can substitute with cotton balls.

Are you ready for an amazing STEM challenge that will really test your students? This is it! Students have only a 12 inches of tape and a 12 inch square of the building material and they must build a tower! The problem solving on this one is intense and so much fun!

Foil Towers

This one is super simple and really does have two materials.

Kids try to build a tower out of something that is very flimsy, so they have to devise ways to make it more sturdy.

The towers can get amazingly tall! I have used this with third graders, but I know my older students would love it too. It would be perfect for a rainy afternoon!

PREP: Tear off lengths of foil and get out the tape. That’s it- easy-peasy! (I buy pre-cut foil and that makes it even easier!)

Click on any of the images to see more details. You might also enjoy these posts about challenges we love:

Easy STEM Challenges that can be prepared quickly with no fuss! The best news is that kids love them and you will, too! Small prep, easy to gather materials- win-win!