An Excellent Way to Get Started - STEM Mystery Builds

What would happen if you gave groups of kids the same building materials, but then told each team to build something different? How cool would it be to see how they used the materials for several different structures?

This is an idea that I have been mulling over for quite some time. I wanted to do something that would have each group building something different.

So, I did try this- with mixed results. The original challenge was that each group would use the exact same supplies, but each would build a different structure. This ended up being rather wasteful since some of the materials were not needed for every task (and kids will try to use them anyway!) So, I re-thought it and came up with a brand new and amazing plan! Take a look!
STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! FREEBIE!

I call it a Mystery Build! Here's the premise of this one: Each group will receive a task card describing what will be built along with the rules for each task. Then each group gets a price list of the materials that are available. They must decide exactly what they need and stay within a budget.
My third graders LOVED THIS!

First, they received their task cards!

STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget!  Each group receives a task card listing the rules of the task! FREEBIE!
This one is hand written because this was a test class! Later, I made these fancier!

Next, they filled out their price list.

STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget!  Each group must choose materials and stay on budget! FREEBIE!
Of course, they had to be mindful of the budget and they could get more materials- only if they still had money left!
STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget!  Each group must choose materials and stay on budget! FREEBIE!
Then they started building whatever their task card said to build. 
Just take a look at this deliciousness!

The Structures

STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! A rocking chair is one of the tasks! FREEBIE!
This task was to build a rocking chair that would actually rock. It also had to hold weights!

STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! A rocket is one of the tasks! FREEBIE!
This task was to build a rocket. It had to resemble a rocket. This team spent a lot of time decorating their rocket ship! Look at that little flag!

STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! A marble run is one of the tasks! FREEBIE!
This task was to build a small marble run. So, of course, this team made sure to purchase some cardboard tubes!

STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! A bridge is one of the tasks! FREEBIE!
This task was to build a bridge and the span had to be a certain width.
STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! The bridge span task has a rule about its width! FREEBIE!


STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! A tower is one of the tasks! FREEBIE!
This tower had to be a certain height and hold weight.
STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! The tower task must hold weight! FREEBIE!


STEM Challenge Mystery Build: Each team builds something different. They must choose the materials needed for the task and stay within a budget! A swing set is one of the tasks! FREEBIE!
And, my favorite was the swing set- which had to hold Lego man and he had to actually swing!
This was totally amazing fun and made the kids think SO HARD! Choosing the right materials for their task and staying on a budget was really interesting to watch. In the end, we had presentations during which each group shared their specific task constraints and then show off the structure.

Best News for YOU! 

This Mystery Challenge is a freebie in my Teachers Pay Teachers store and you can grab it right {HERE}

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