October is FINALLY here, which means that it’s time to pack in all the Spooky Halloween STEM fun! Whether you teach STEM whole class on Fridays, set up stations for fall party day, or keep your kids engaged with challenges during the days surrounding a fall break, I’ve got you covered with 7 low prep elementary challenges that will quickly become your kids’ favorites! So let’s dive in with some exciting force and motion activities, ooey gooey slime, candy construction, and Halloween themed math challenges!
Ohhh, the Pumpkin Catapult! If I had to choose an all time favorite October STEM challenge, this would most certainly be it! Pair it with the read aloud, Big Pumpkin, to inspire your students, and incorporate with levers, potential, and kinetic energy for a challenge that is perfect for building perseverance and collaboration skills among your kids. Students will construct catapults and measure the distances that their candy pumpkins are launched. Better yet…follow it up with 6 Pumpkin Catapult Game stations to put their catapults to the test for distance and accuracy!
The Pumpkin Catapult challenge and Game Stations are found in my Halloween STEM pack. Check out my YouTube video below for a detailed overview of this pack and demo of all the included materials!
It’s Tricky (tricky) Tricky (tricky)! This is engineering at its sweetest with the Candy Tower challenge! Students are challenged to construct three-dimensional shapes, determine which shapes are strongest, and measure the heights of their towers. We use mellowcreme pumpkins to keep the challenge level high, but they are heavier and break more easily, so make sure to model for students how to gently insert the toothpick into the side of the pumpkin without breaking it. You can also use gummy pumpkins, pumpkin marshmallows, Halloween-themed fruit snacks, or even orange playdough if you’re trying to avoid food. The Candy Tower challenge is also found in my Halloween STEM Challenges pack and its great to pair with any architecture book such as Iggy Peck, Architect.
Spider Web Bridge
The Spider Web Bridge challenge is an awesome introduction to bridge engineering, as well as tension and balance. Students can make connections to real spider webs as they construct a bridge using cups, tape, and intersecting pieces of yarn, then use linking cubes to test how many “spiders” can balance on top without falling off. (The trick to this challenge is taping the cups down to the table surface to allow for more tension with the yarn.) You can pair this challenge with A Book of Bridges or even Walter’s Wonderful Web. It is also found in my Halloween STEM pack!
Our Shape Fences challenge is the perfect follow-up to my FAVORITE Halloween read aloud, Creepy Carrots! Students use baby carrots and toothpicks or popsicle sticks to construct different polygonal fences to surround the Creepy Carrots! Upper grade students can take it a step further by using the grid paper to measure perimeters and areas of their fences. This unit is a special edition and is found in our Creepy Carrots Storybook STEM. It also includes differentiated language arts components for vocabulary, character feelings/perspectives, and plot twists.
No bones about it! This math-focused STEM challenge to supplement Bonaparte Falls Apart is sure to keep your kids engaged as they construct symmetrical designs using Q-tips and playdough. Upper grade students can also practice identifying and measuring angles! This Bone Builder Challenge is found in our special edition of Storybook STEM for Bonaparte Falls Apart and includes tons of engaging ELA components created by Katie King for Idioms, Problem and Solution, Character Motivation, and vocabulary.
Balance the Broom
Room on the Broom is a HUGE favorite in K-2nd, and our Balance the Broom challenge is the ideal math extension! Students create a simple balance scale using a can of playdough, pencil, and ruler, then explore different ways to balance the “broom” with pennies and all their favorite characters from the book! This unit is found in our October Storybook STEM pack.
October is the perfect time of year to embrace the mess, and we LOVE creating homemade polymers (or slime!) to supplement the book Ada Twist, Scientist! The Slimy Science challenge (found in October Storybook STEM) is a wonderful way to incorporate states of matter as students discover that polymers have properties of both solids and liquids. This challenge is a great way to involve families on Fall Party day!
I cannot wait to jump into all these Spooky STEM challenges with my little ones!
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