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Let’s Get Ready for a Football STEM Challenge!

A football STEM Challenge? Of course! What a fantastic way to encourage teamwork (pun intended), have fun, and keep students engaged.

This challenge has two components to it and you may find students dividing their team into two teams to complete each part.

And then, you better get ready for the competitions because your students will love sharing their goalposts and kickers, and trying to score.

A football STEM Challenge for elementary students! This includes creating the goalpost and a way of propelling the football. Companion resources are also featured.

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

Why do we have elementary STEM?


The greatest benefit of STEM is that it is a place for the beginning of a love of learning. The elementary years are the perfect time to instill the importance of and the joy of learning more. Elementary students often have an amazing sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness that leads them into exploring and learning. The elementary years are also great for establishing what it means to work as a team.

And what better way to do that than with a TEAM challenge!

A Sports-Themed STEM Challenge

This challenge has two parts, as I said, and students will love both parts. One part is to build a goalpost and the other is to build a way to propel the football through the goalposts.

Ways to solve problems to vcreate a football goalpost and launcher!

This is an up-close look at how one team made their football launcher. They were having trouble connecting straws so they punched a hole and thread the straws together. Clever!

Who is this challenge for?

This STEM sports challenge is for 4th and 5th graders. I have tried it with both grades and they have great results. You could also try this with third-graders- perhaps in the second semester of 3rd-grade.

The launching mechanism for the football goalpost challenge!

One of the most challenging parts of this activity is making a catapulting device to “kick” the football. Notice how this team used two craft sticks to hold their catapult in place.

Where did I get those footballs?

Well, I have a funny story to tell you!

Various footballs fort he football STEM Challenge

Originally I ordered a collection of several sports balls from Amazon. Those plastic footballs were in the bag. The product described the balls as a “2-inch diameter”.

Well, when the bag arrived I discovered that a 2-inch diameter is a rather large plastic ball. I guess I was thinking 2-inch circumference!

So, I had to scramble to find basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs. Those furry footballs came from a headband from the sports area of a party store.

Guess, what? A cheap ping-pong ball works better than all the rest!

Finished Models

Take a look at a few finished goals and launchers!

Getting ready to launch with the football STEM Challenge

One thing we learned quickly is that a narrow set of goalposts made it really hard to score!

This challenge does have size constraints.

What about more sports resources?

Well, I have you covered on some companion resources that will work great with the Football STEM Challenge!

A Sports Escape Room for elementary students. This includes a STEM Challenge!
Sports Print and Read- a highly engaging informational text set featuring sports. Included is a magazine-style mockup page using text features.

The Escape Room has three tasks. As students complete a task they find a code that will unlock a box. The box contains their next task.

At the end of the locked box event, you can opt to have students compete in three sports challenges. The teacher’s guide covers all of these! You just have to set up areas for the mini-competitions.

And, here’s the best news- a STEM Challenge is included with this Escape Room! It’s a Foosball Challenge!

This no-prep Print and Read resource is all about sports. It’s a perfect addition to a week of STEM and sporting events.

The set includes 4 reading passages and a magazine-style layout with more reading selections.

Of course, I include two reading levels and answer keys for this resource!

Which sports-related resource are you most excited to try with your students?

Or try them all!

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A football STEM Challenge for elementary students! This includes creating the goalpost and a way of propelling the football. Companion resources are also featured.