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Ways to Stay Engaged at the End of the Year

Let’s face it, the end of the year in elementary school is busy, busy, busy. And, it is so hard to keep students engaged. Let me help!

The last two months of school are just jam-packed and busy and chaotic. We have so many things to do and so many last-minute things happening. How do you keep your students engaged in their work?  

Well, I have some ideas for you! These are fun and will save you some time in planning and creating! Take a look!

Great ideas to maintain engagement during the busiest month of the school year- End of the Year Projects!

There are many ways you can keep kids engaged. Room transformations with accompanying lessons, field trips, read-aloud books, competitions… you get it! But it can be a lot of work for you. Let me give you some solutions (and the work is already done!)

  • Escape Rooms
  • STEM Challenges
  • Favorites
  • Building Boats

Escape Rooms

Let’s talk about engagement! Escape Rooms are a definite winner in that regard. Here are some things my students have told me about our escape rooms:

“This is the most fun I have ever had in STEM!’ “I loved every part of this. It made me use some thinking.” “We loved that it made us really work as a team.”

This Escape Room begins with a scavenger hunt. I placed signs around the school and each sign also has a clue word. Students fill in their clue sheets as they find the signs. The clue words lead to another word to unscramble and this leads students to the lock code for the first box.

End of the Year Escape Room- keep students engaged with their work with this fabulous locked box event. Follow it up with the Bubble Wand STEM Challenge!
End of the Year Escape Room- keep students engaged with their work with this fabulous locked box event. Follow it up with the Bubble Wand STEM Challenge!

NOTE: This resource has an editable scavenger hunt so you can create your own sign locations and clues.  

There are three boxes and each is unlocked in a similar way. Students solve a puzzle or complete math problems to search for the lock code.

They are so excited when they attempt to unlock those locks!

Don’t worry- I include a way to complete this Escape without using locks and boxes!

STEM Challenge- students design a bubble wand that will create the largest bubble. Perfect for the end of the school year!

Here’s the best part! A STEM Challenge is included!

After completing the Escape Room students grab the materials to make their own bubble wand- following a few rules. These are great to use outdoors in the spring weather!

Escape Room – No Locks!

Are you ready for easy prep? Here is an escape room event that has easy prep- just make copies. No locks, no toolboxes!

Here is the scenario: It is the last day of school. The students discover they are locked in the building. The only way out is to start in one corner and work through a maze as they pass through several rooms. In each room, they will solve a task. When the teacher checks their solution they have earned a checkmark on their school maps and they move on to the next room and task. At the end of the school maze- they have escaped!

Escape the School- a No Locks paper/pencil project for the end of the school year (or any time) Highly engaging!

  Your prep is just making copies! This fun event includes mazes and all of the tasks involve math in some form!   BONUS: This can also be purchased in a bundle with a STEM Challenge! Just click on the image to see more!

STEM Challenges

What better way is there to have some fabulous afternoons in the month of May with your students completing a STEM Challenge!

The ones we save for this last month of school are just the most favorite ones we ever do.   

First up is Water Slides!   Students use the materials to create a water slide with a ladder and we pour water to see if Lego Man can slip down that slide. Learning about water-proofing the slide is priceless!

STEM Challenge- students design a water slide that will safely carry a toy figure. Perfect for the end of the school year; amazing resource created for busy teachers

The water is caught in a pool at the end and we all cheer when Lego Man makes it to the bottom!   TIP: Have some real cloth towels to help with spills. They work better than paper towels!

Another engaging challenge is Building Boats.

Building Boats is a perfect STEM Challenge for the end of the school year! This student favorite includes a detailed teacher's guide full of tips!

Students “purchase” their materials and follow a budget to design and create a boat.

The boat must float and hold weight. We count those pennies in a little bowl one by one and cheer when the bowls are so full we cannot add any more.


Stay engaged in activities- that is the secret for the last month of school! Try one of these projects and, I promise, your students will love them:)


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!

Great ideas to maintain engagement during the busiest month of the school year- End of the Year Projects!

Favorite Picture Books for STEM

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