Top
Grab your Free Guide - 3 Steps to STEM Success

5 STEM Challenges You Have Never Heard of and Need to Try Now!

I have a few challenges you need to try. Tried and true challenges are great because we know what to expect, but what if there are challenges you have never seen and they are also great! Let me show you!

We all have our favorite challenges and if you have ever searched for a new idea you might have missed these great challenges in this post. Don’t let the search algorithm trick you! These challenges are great even if you have never heard about them!

5 best challenges you have never heard of but need to try- engaging activities students love and you will, too. Design a Pencil Box, Hammocks, Twirling Towers, and more!

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!

Why You Need to Try These 5 Challenges

You may be following a grade level curriculum and use many of the same resources or ideas every year. Change is good, however, and surprise challenges are always fun.

I have a few ideas for you about trying something new!

  • Save one of these challenges to try out with a group that has gotten ahead of others. That is your test class and they love being the “guinea pigs”.
  • Choose one of these activities to leave on a sub day. This gives your classes a STEM project without disturbing our agenda.
  • Try one of these challenges as a reward. Announce to all classes that one class will be chosen to try a special activity and let them know the criteria for being chosen.

Are you ready? Let’s see these amazing challenges that you need to try!

You Need to Try Designing Pencil Boxes

STEM Project- teams design a pencil box that opens and locks closed. The box must hold a few pencils without collapsing. Perfect for upper elementary.

Students design and build a sturdy pencil box that will hold a specific number of pencils. It must close and latch!

Something I added to this challenge is fun! Teams must also invent a reason they must build a pencil box – since many of them already have plastic one.

You Need to Try Twirling Towers

STEM Project- teams design a tower with a part that twirls. The part must be functional and turn easily. Perfect for upper elementary.
STEM Project- teams design a tower with a part that twirls. The part must be functional and turn easily. Perfect for upper elementary.

In this fun challenge teams must build a tower. It will not be very tall. Here’s the twist: The tower must have a twirling part and the part must have a reasonable function.

In the photos you have a windmill and a mini-golf course tower with its own golf club!

(You may note that building materials in the photos includes pencils! One year I used brand new unsharpened pencils for our first challenges because I had so many! You can use dowel sticks or craft sticks instead!)

You Must Try Building Hammocks

STEM Project- teams design a hammock that is suspended between 2 supports. The final hammock can be tested with weights. Perfect for upper elementary.

Oh, how fun this challenge is. Teams build a hammock using cloth scraps. They must also create the trees from which the hammocks hang.

Wehave such fun building those trees and learning how to attach cloth pieces to the tower.

Some of our hammocks have been able to hold weight! This challenge is a good one to use to teach students to make a flange to attach an upright tower to a table top!

You Must Try Designing a Box

STEM Project- teams design a box that opens and closes and has carrying handles. Test the box with weights! Perfect for upper elementary.
STEM Project- teams design a box that opens and closes and has carrying handles. Test the box with weights! Perfect for upper elementary.

This tiny box is amazingly challenging! Student must create the box with a lid that hinges open and latches closed. We test by adding pennies to the box and they will hold a lot.

This is a tricky activity because the box is built from one piece of paper. The task is all about volume because teams want their box to hold the most pennies. A cube shape is generally the one that holds the most. Teams that build a flat box have problems keeping the lid closed and the pennies make the bottoms sag.

You Must Try Candy Experiments

STEM Project- teams experiment with dissolving candies and then design their own test using liquids of their choice. Perfect for upper elementary.

I probably don’t need to tell you how much students love this! Just say the word ‘candy’ and you students engaged.

We start by experimenting with dissolving candy in water and there is a type of candy that will look exactly like that photo.

But, are there other candies that will do this?

Teams decide which candies to test and what kind of liquid will work best. They design their own experiments!

These 5 STEM activities are definitely the ones you must try soon! Don’t miss the fun and learning found in each!

RELATED ARTICLES

5 best challenges you have never heard of but need to try- engaging activities students love and you will, too. Design a Pencil Box, Hammocks, Twirling Towers, and more!

Some of Our Favorites

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.