Back-to-school signs now greet me at every store, but I am still in denial that the lazy day of summers have come to an end! Soon, students will fill the hallways with laughter and shiny new backpacks, and teachers will clutch their coffee mugs and brace for another year! To help ease you into the new school year, Vivify invites you to start the year with some hands-on STEM challenges!
Icebreaker STEM challenges are a great way to kick-off the year! These simple engineering design challenges get your students moving, thinking, and collaborating. Easily tailored to fit your students, we recommend this for 3rd - 8th graders. This set includes:
- Pipe-cleaner Tower Mission: Using only pipe-cleaners, teams will build the tallest, freestanding tower. However, there will unexpected constraints along the way!
- Chair Challenge: Students will design and build their own chair using only newspapers, magazines, and tape. This challenges really forces students to think about and challenge the constraints of the problem.
- STEM Critical Thinking Activities: This includes four activities that are a great introduction to science and engineering thinking. Students will explore the world around them asking questions with a scientific or engineering mindset.
If you need more icebreaker challenges, you can really use almost anything to challenge students to build the tallest tower in teams. Examples include: index cards and tape, toothpicks and gumdrops, or spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. The tallest tower wins! More ideas can be found on our Pinterest board, STEM Design Challenges and Icebreakers.
If you are looking for an interactive game, you can check our our free Science Icebreaker: What Am I? This is a great vocabulary refresher to start the year. Each student gets a word placed on their back, and then the students go around asking yes or no questions to guess their word. A fun way to break the ice and meet new classmates.
If you are ready to include more in-depth STEM challenges in the new school year, we recommend our 6 Starter STEM Challenges. From catapults to cars to an egg drop challenge, this is all you need to get started in STEM! Each activity has an in-depth student activity sheet along with a guide through the engineering design process. Materials are cheap, but the learning is fun, hands-on, and engaging!