Are you ready?
We tried three sports-related challenges recently and WOW this was a big hit!
The challenges were challenging, but the results were spectacular.
So, here we go with 3 ways to add some sports to your STEM class and 2 great hints about materials! This should get your students jumping with excitement and ready to compete!
Let's Shoot Some Hoops!
The first one we tried was about basketball. The goals were trickier to make than we expected!
Especially, the net.
You could definitely tell which little girls had used tulle before. Those were our experts. (And I mean nothing sexist by that statement- it's just a fabric that girls have used, while boys .... not so much!)
Take a look at this quick little video where I actually caught a basket being made!
So, what did we use for the sports balls?
Let's pause with the STEM challenges for a moment while I tell you about my goof up with this series of challenges.
I had some little rubber balls that look like soccer and basketball balls that I planned to use for these challenges. But I didn't have a football. So, I headed to Amazon.com because you can buy anything there. Seriously.
And I found the ones you see in the photo above (which is linked to Amazon in case you need those since they really are cool!) The description said the balls were 2.5 inches in diameter and I was super excited. Like wouldn't those be perfect?!
And no, they were not perfect.
Because diameter and circumference are very different which means the balls were maybe slightly, okay a lot, too big. You can see in the second photo that they were just too much. The smaller balls are all ping pong balls or the size of ping pong balls. And by the way, we found that a regular ping pong ball worked great!
Are You Ready for Some Football?
On to FOOTBALL! The next sports challenge was to build a goal and a kicker. Now, we went ahead and tried those giant footballs and the kids loved them. They were just harder to use with the catapulting devices the kids had built. They tried them a lot anyway, just because they looked like real footballs.
The hardest part of the football challenge was getting that goal post to stand up. Kids tried all kinds of genius ways to prop it up. They also had to make a kicking device and used the materials
very creatively to make something to propel those little footballs. (Oh, see that little furry football in the above photo. That one came from a girl's headband I found at a party store. It was made of fake fur and fluffy and worked pretty good actually.)
And before I forget this.......
We used a lot of craft sticks for this one!
In fact, we use craft sticks all the time. Or straws. Or both.
Speaking of craft sticks.
I get a lot of them donated to our lab, but when I purchase them it's always in a giant box like this one. They last forever and we recycle- meaning we take things apart and reuse the sticks!
Get the giant box. Don't be fooled by those little packs at the Dollar Tree. Get the big box.
Finally, it was time for soccer. Coincidentally, our students were in the middle of our annual school soccer tournament.
They were very excited about making the soccer goals and a goalie to block kicks. The best part was the way in which the goalie was decorated. They made crazy hair and green hair and labeled their shirts with famous soccer player's names. Total fun!
The goalie part of this structure was the most amazing! It had to move and attempt to block shots! Our presentations for this challenge were spectacular as kids from other groups attempted shots and the presenting group tried to stop them.
So, there you are! Three great sports challenges and two fabulous ideas about materials you can try.
Click on any of the images to see more details about these STEM Challenges!