Ghostly STEM Fun!

“All sorts of things can happen when you’re open to new ideas and 
playing around with things.” — Stephanie Kwolek, chemist who invented Kevlar

There's no better way to play around with things and develop a growth mindset than with STEM challenges! STEM helps to encourage problem solving skills, teamwork, and builds perseverance. October is the perfect time to incorporate some ghostly fun!
Students were told that although ghosts usually fly on their own, our ghosts needed a little extra help. Their task was to design a carrier to transport their ghost safely down a zipline. They first worked independently to plan, sketch, label, then build their carrier.  We used whatever happened to be in our STEAM box and recycling bin: straws, cardboard, pipe cleaners, masking tape, cups, used posterboard, and coins (used as weights). Each student received one marshmallow (think S'mores size). They drew on it with a Sharpie to personalize their "ghost".

The task: carriers must take at least 4 seconds to reach the ground. THIS was the shockingly hard part! Kids were so surprised when their carriers crashed to the ground in 1-2 seconds! Plus they are used to usually wanting to be the fastest, rather than the slowest and safest! After testing out their designs in groups and discussing what worked and what did not work, they redesigned and rebuilt one group carrier.
This second round was much more successful! They experimented with variables such as the incline angles of the zipline and the weight of the carrier (using coins).
To download your FREE copy of Flying Ghosts STEM Challenge (recording sheets and rubric), click HERE.
Looking for more Halloween activities you can feel good about using your instructional minutes for? Check out these other free ideas for your upper elementary students and let us do the planning for you!

Images from left to right:

Ghostly STEM Fun! // Tried & True Teaching Tools

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