In March, I like to incorporate engaging STEM activities into my classroom to help alleviate the stress of test prep season. While we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in my family due to our Irish heritage, I also like to focus on March STEM activities to keep my students excited about learning. Despite the looming standardized assessments, we can still have fun while strengthening our skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Students are beginning to feel the pressure and teachers are definitely feeling the pressure. There is a lot of content still to be taught, content to be reviewed, and lots of practicing to be done.
Imagine putting aside a 45-minute block each week for students to have some fun? Even better, imagine students having fun while working on problem-solving skills, collaborating with their peers, collecting data, and communicating results?
You can do all of this with a STEM or STEAM Challenge!
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of STEM challenges. They are fun yet CHALLENGING. Students have to read, brainstorm, plan, create, test, observe, collect information, modify, explain, write, and, collaborate and more. There is a lot of higher-order thinking involved in an engineering STEM Challenge and all of those skills are important to develop problem-solving skills, persistence, perseverance, growth mindset, and more. I like to also believe that challenges help to teach students to appreciate a challenge, that hard things are worth the effort, are fun, and are very satisfying when successfully completed.
These are real world skills that will help students tackle real-world problems, including a big test.
March STEM Activities
For March STEM Challenges, I love to use a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Isn’t everyone a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day?
Leprechaun Trap STEM Challenge
One tried and true St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge is to design a leprechaun trap. The materials I provide my students to build a trap are simple but I also like to amp up the fun even a bit more by adding a cute little paper “leprechaun”, fake gold coins, some green paper, and markers so that students can decorate their trap.
Pot ‘O Gold Float STEM Challenge
Another fun STEM Challenge is to design and build a “pot” to float some “gold”. This Pot ‘O Gold Float STEM Challenge can be another engaging activity on St. Patrick’s Day. The challenge involves designing and constructing a boat using aluminum foil that can carry the maximum number of coins. While pennies can be used as a substitute for “gold” coins, using fake gold coins can add to the charm and enjoyment of the challenge. To determine the winner, a small plastic container filled with water is used to test which “pot” can hold the most “gold” and still float.
Incorporating St. Patrick’s Day themed STEM challenges into your lesson plans can be a fun and engaging way to teach your students valuable skills. From designing leprechaun traps to floating pots of gold, these activities provide an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and creativity in a meaningful way. By infusing some Irish flair into your STEM lessons this March, you can encourage your students to think outside the box and develop a love for learning that will stay with them for years to come.
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