Growing up St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal in my house and always went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in NYC. I am lucky enough to be Irish but on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is lucky enough to join in on the fun of celebrating the Irish.
In my classroom, when March hits, I know we are beginning the stress of test prep season. Our first big assessment is usually in early April and it’s CRUNCH TIME.
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 think 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 ole test.
For some March-themed STEM Challenges, I love to use a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Isn’t everyone a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day?
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.
Both STEM Challenges include:
If you want to learn more about how I use STEM Challenges in my classroom, read my 5 Tips for Using STEM Challenges in Your Classroom.
I’d love to hear all about your favorite March activities in the classroom. Leave a comment below to let me know how you manage “March madness” with your students.