Keep Students Engaged During the Long Winter Months with STEM

Keep Students Engaged During the Long Winter Months with STEM

Getting kids to focus during the winter months was always a struggle for me. The cold temperatures mixed with being cooped inside all day can make even the most well mannered class lose their minds. Times like these require extremely engaging lessons to keep students focused and engaged.

Fortunately, I found the secret to keeping students engaged, even during the long winter months…STEM! You too can increase student engagement during the long winter months by incorporating hands-on winter STEM activities.

Build a Snow Fort

For the build a snow fort STEM challenge the students receive a letter stating that there will be a snow ball fight contest. In order to win the contest the students must build a fort for protection using only toothpicks and marshmallows. The snow fort must stand on its own, must be covered on all four sides, and must include a roof.

Allow students approximately 10 minutes to plan their design individually and another 10-20 minutes to plan as a team. Students will have 30 minutes to build their snow forts. At the end of the time limit test for durability and protection by throwing a few marshmallows at each fort.

Build a Sled

For the build a sled STEM activity students are told that they are going sledding with their friends, but they forgot to bring a sled. Challenge students to build the fastest sled using cardboard, straws, pipe cleaners, tape, scissors, and pennies or washers (for weight).

Allow students approximately 10 minutes to plan their design individually and another 10-20 minutes to plan as a team. Students will have 30 minutes to build their sled. Test the sled using a wood plank propped up against a table or wall. Sleds can also be tested using the playground slide.

Build a Snowman

For the build a snowman STEM challenge students compete in a snowman building contest to see who can build the tallest snowman that can stand on its own using just toothpicks and different sizes of marshmallows.

Allow students approximately 10 minutes to plan their design individually and another 10-20 minutes to plan as a team. Students will have 30 minutes to build their snowmen. At the end of the time limit measure the snowmen to see which one is the tallest.

Snowball Fight STEM

For the snowball fight STEM challenge students must design a snowball catapult in order to win a snowball fight. The catapult must be able to launch a small marshmallow. Students will construct their catapults out of rubber bands, popsicle sticks, and a spoon.

Allow students approximately 10 minutes to plan their design individually and another 10-20 minutes to plan as a team. Students will have 30 minutes to build their catapult. At the end of the time limit test each catapult by measuring how far the marshmallow travels.

Engage students with STEM during the winter months with our Winter STEM Bundle. This resource includes all four STEM activities bundled at a discount along with detailed teacher lesson plans and a student STEM journal.

For more STEM ideas, inspiration, and collaboration with other STEM teachers be sure to join our FREE Facebook group the STEM Teachers Club!

We hope you have found this blog post helpful. To stay connected with Carly and Adam's teaching tips and classroom freebies be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, and subscribe to our blog!

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