All I Want for Christmas is STEM!

Happy Holidays, teacher friends!

If you’re anything like me, you’re scrambling around like crazy right now prepping #allthethings for the holidays. (Teacher mommas, I’m talking especially to you!) December is a short month but a very BUSY one, with lots of little elves who need to stay engaged as we count down to Winter Break. STEM Challenges are the perfect ways to keep our kiddos creating and collaborating, and I’ve got you covered with LOW PREP lessons that you and your kids will absolutely love. These challenges are perfect to get parents in on the fun during Winter parties or even to pair with another class for STEM buddies. Here are all my holiday STEM favorites!

Shelf for the Elf Challenge

Has the elf officially joined (ahem, invaded) your home or classroom yet? Why not embrace the craziness with a Shelf for the Elf engineering challenge that ties in three-dimensional structures, lines and joints, balance, and more! This challenge is found in my Christmas STEM pack and is ALWAYS a favorite from K-5th grade. Differentiated recording sheets are provided that are developmentally appropriate for both lower and upper grades.

Check out my newest YouTube video for a walk through of all the components in my Christmas STEM Challenges!

Santa’s Parachute Challenge

The Santa’s Parachute challenge is a HUGE hit, especially among upper grades, and is great for student to experiment with a range of designs and improvements. Students choose from a variety of construction materials to determine which ones work most effectively for the canopy and basket of their parachute. The ultimate challenge is for students to get Santa to land upright on the target, all while exploring the forces of gravity and drag! This challenge is found in my Christmas STEM.

Tallest Tree Challenge

Low prep, simple, and crazy fun, the Tallest Tree challenge is perfect for Holiday parties, centers, or even a minute-to-win-it style timed challenge! Students use either standard sized cups or mini cups to create the tallest possible “tree” while exploring a variety of three-dimensional solids.

Red and Lulu Storybook STEM

Looking for a gorgeous, magical, heartwarming read aloud to share with your students?! Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares has quickly become my all time favorite holiday picture book, and the story of two cardinals and the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will warm your heart. For the “Red Flies High” challenge, students will learn about forces of flight as they construct a model of a flying cardinal and navigate through a series of New York City themed challenges! The book provides tons of cool facts about the history and significance of the Rockefeller Tree, and students can even use STEM Bins as an extension to build models of famous NYC landmarks.

Holidays Around the World Storybook STEM

This special edition of Storybook STEM combines informational text, research, simple building brick STEM challenges, and math extensions for six winter holidays around the world: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, St. Lucia’s Day, La Befana, and Christmas! Holidays can be taught one or two per day or all six holidays can be taught in one day. The provided informational PowerPoint and QR code research mats provides necessary background knowledge for each holiday and can be read and discussed as a class. There is even a culminating Readers’ Theater that incorporates all six holidays!

December Storybook STEM

Looking for more December Storybook STEM Challenges? These are some of my kids’ favorites!

Four units are included to accompany favorite seasonal children’s books, with supplemental STEM challenges for each and differentiated literacy and math options for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade.

Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett (Musical Instrument Challenge)

The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg (Train Bridge Challenge)

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe (Tallest Tree Challenge)

The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora (Santa’s Sleigh Challenge)

I hope you LOVE these holiday STEM challenges and I hope your classroom is filled with peace, joy, and STEM this year!

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