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With St.Patrick’s Day around the corner, we thought this would be a perfect time to pull out some STEM activities. STEM is a huge buzzword and it’s being used more and more often in the school setting, but what does it actually involve? It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and entails using the Engineering Design Process. Now, that might sound intimidating, but really when you break it down, step-by-step, it’s totally do-able and fun! 

With the steps to refer to, it’s up to you to create the challenge! STEM challenges are perfect for holidays because they are so easily adaptable. Here are a couple we rounded up that are geared towards St.Patrick’s Day.

Rainbow Challenge 

Challenge your kids to build a rainbow that can withstand the weight of a pot of gold! Give them some materials like play dough, pipe cleaners, a cup of pennies (that’s the pot of gold), popsicle sticks, cups, etc. Then have them use the Engineering Design Process. Here’s a sample: 

Step 1: Ask – What’s the problem or challenge?  

I have to make a rainbow that’s sturdy enough to hold some coins. 

Step 2: Imagine – Brainstorm how to solve it. 

I could make it out of play dough completely but that might not be strong enough. I could use the pipe cleaners but how will they stay put? Maybe I could stick the pipe cleaners in the play dough and make the rainbow shape with the pipe cleaners! 

Step 3: Plan – Draw or write it out.

Self explanatory, use your imagination:)

Step 4: Create – Put the plan to action! 

Here’s the fun part of seeing the plan come to life! 

Step 5: Test – Did the plan work?

Did the rainbow withstand the weight of the pot of gold? 

Step 6: Improve – What can be done to make it even better? 

How can I make it stronger to hold even more gold? 

Leprechaun Lookout 

Another fun St.Patrick’s Day STEM challenge is to build a Leprechaun Lookout tower with only two materials! There are so many material choices to pick from – toothpicks, green jelly beans, marshmallows, cups, play dough, Lucky Charms, rainbow popsicle sticks and more! Have your child go through the Engineering Design Process Steps to create their lookout tower! 

STEM challenges are great for so many reasons – you get to understand your child’s thought process, your child has fun with the hands-on aspect and you can easily incorporate teamwork! You can also add some healthy competition and it’s an opportunity to explain that it’s normal to keep trying until you’re happy with the end result!

Which STEM challenge would your kids prefer? Let us know in the comments! 

Wishing you well,