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Best Sellers- STEM Challenges Ready for You NOW!

These STEM best sellers are easy to prep, highly engaging, so fun, and loved by teachers and students. You need to try one today!

What makes a STEM Challenge a best seller? I have a few ideas to share with you!

STEM Challenges - best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

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What makes these challenges best sellers?

Looking at the top 10 STEM Challenges I have in my TPT store, I can say these are the things they have in common:

  • Easy prep
  • Materials you already have
  • Challenging and competitive
  • Full of learning
  • A little bit of whimsy

Just for fun, I am listing how each of these challenges matches to this list! Let’s award them ✅ for each match.

STEM Best Seller #1 – Bucket Towers

Bucket Towers - STEM Challenge- best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

Without question this challenge has stayed in the top 5 bestsellers since I created it. It is quite unique.

The premise is simple- design a tower that will hold a bucket and the bucket must hold weight.

I always have students invent a reason for the bucket. You can, of course, have towers built with no intentional purpose for the bucket.

PREP: You can see in the photo that the materials are items you probably already use for STEM Projects. (straws) You might also notice pennies in the bucket. These materials are easy to dispense. I fill bins for teams ahead of class and just hand out the bins. This one is competitive because every team wants their bucket to hold the most pennies. SCORE: ✅✅✅✅✅

TIP: Keep a big bag of pennies in your lab to use as weights in projects.

STEM Best Seller #2 – Paper Airplanes

Paper Airplanes - STEM Challenge- best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

It is so easy to understand why this Paper Airplane Challenge is a best seller! You know students LOVE to throw paper planes anyway, so why not make it a STEM activity?

The premise of this challenge is to have teams test different folds for the paper plane and then design the ultimate plane based on their recorded data.

We line up and throw planes 5 times and change a variable and repeat. Teams find the average flight distance for each variable and choose the best ones for their final plane.

PREP: Paper. That’s it. I provide copy paper, notebook paper, cardstock, and a few wacky things (like waxed paper and construction paper).

Teams experiment, record data, and then finally design their best plane. The learning is easy to spot- teams record data and average the flight distances.

This one is ridiculously competitive and so fun to watch. We almost always have one person that can fold the best plane and we teach one another how! SCORE: ✅✅✅✅✅

TIP: We measure in meters and centimeters using a reel tape. Those numbers are easier to average (and we use calculators).

STEM Best Seller #3 – Basketball Goals

Basketball Goals - STEM Challenge- best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

Designing basketball goals is one of the most requested challenges in our lab. It’s easy to see why!

Teams built the goal with basket and netting and they create a catapulting device to launch the ball.

So interesting to watch as they build both components and join them together for exciting competitions!

PREP: Materials are things you have already- cardboard tubes are excellent springboards. I buy the netting by the yard at a craft store and about one yard of it works for multiple classes. The trial and error of launching a ball through the hoop is quite amazing. Teams will constantly modify and change shot angles to make those baskets. SCORE: ✅✅✅✅✅

TIP: Buy the inexpensive ping-pong balls from a dollar store for your “basketball”!

STEM Best Seller #4 – Volume with Popcorn

Popcorn Volume STEM Challenge- best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

Oh my! This project is one of my favorites and students love it too. It’s a best seller for 2 main reasons! Easy prep and the knowledge gained!

Teams must build a container that will perfectly hold a specific amount of popcorn. They have 10 sample pieces to use to gauge the size container needed.

This challenge is all about volume and understanding how much space is needed for certain items.

PREP: Seriously, you need paper, tape, and popcorn. That’s it. You cannot get easier than that! This challenge is easy to prep and competitive. Every team wants to be the one that makes the perfect container for the popcorn. Learning how volume works is a big part of this activity and it is eye-opening. Look at the photo above. The team filled its container and it looks great, but the bowl has the pieces that would not fit. SCORE: ✅✅✅✅✅

TIP: Buy pre-popped popcorn from a dollar store. And, you may want to get an extra bag for students to eat after the challenge!

STEM Best Seller #5 – Straw Mazes

Straw Mazes - STEM Challenge- best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

Did you know that students love building mazes? They do! We have tried many different types of mazes and they love them all.

In the Straw Maze challenge teams use straws and tape to create the maze. You can use any type of cardboard for the base. I use dollar store foam board and cut the pieces in half.

PREP: Dare I say there is none? Gathering the materials is about all the prep and cutting the base board. Students will cut their own straws and this is a good time to get out your recycled straw pieces. We use clear tape because it looks better on the finished maze. For maze challenges we always learn vocabulary of mazes- like dead ends, turns, curves, and decoys. SCORE: ✅✅✅✅✅

TIP: We have tried many items to roll through the maze. A light weight object works best. Heavier balls tend to jump over the maze walls.

These STEM best sellers check off all the reasons they are the best. They are competitive, easy prep, unique, and challenging! Try one soon!

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STEM Challenges - best sellers from Teachers are Terrific include five fabulous, easy-to-prep, highly engaging STEM activities loved by teachers and students.

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