5 Ways to Add STEM and Christmas in Your Classroom

Merry Christmas! 

If you are looking for something crafty and STEM-related this post is for you!
I have five challenges you can try with kids from first grade to fifth grade!
STEM Challenges for December: Check this blog post for five ways to add STEM to your Christmas classroom activities!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on Amazon's site using these links, I will receive a small compensation on your purchase.

First Grade Trees

STEM Challenge for first graders! It's a cute little Christmas tree made from interlocking cubes!

First Grade Trees were a hoot! This actually happened accidentally.

In my first and second grade classes, I have six tables and one day recently I gave each table different materials. I invented something each table could build with those materials and then we rotated from table to table for the whole class. One table had interlocking cubes and the task was to build a tree.
The group in the photo above made theirs a Christmas tree! Don't you love those multi-colored cubes that are the presents under the tree? Quite a few presents, actually!

So, here's your STEM challenge for firsties: Read them a Christmas picture book, give them a bin of cubes, and tell them to make a Christmas tree. They will love it and so will you! It's easy-prep and easy cleanup!

If you need interlocking cubes, these are the kind we use:
Click on the image to get to Amazon!

Brown Bag Trees

Here's a variation of a STEM Christmas tree. We used this challenge with third, fourth, and fifth graders. It's called the Brown Bag Christmas tree.
STEM Challenge for December! It's the Brown Bag Christmas Tree! A few materials and a lunch sack and you have a little tree!
When I handed out the materials bins for this one I heard a lot of funny comments about those lunch sacks. Then when I told them they were building a brown bag tree I got a lot of funny looks. But, they had the best time and made some very creative trees.

STEM Challenge for December! It's the Brown Bag Christmas Tree! A few materials and a lunch sack and you have a little tree!
My favorite part of this one was watching all the clever ways the tree was used. Some groups rolled the bag and made a trunk. One group made a tree skirt out of the bag! (And, they knew it was called a tree skirt!)

It's a super easy one that uses a variety of easy to gather materials and the brown lunch sacks and the kids design and build a tree. You can find this one in my TpT store right {HERE}!

If you use STEM projects a lot like we do, I suggest you keep the larger containers of craft sticks like this one:

Click on the image to go to Amazon!


Cookie Packages

Anything with food is always a popular challenge for us. Even when they know we are not going to eat the food!
STEM Challenge for December: Design a package to transport cookies for a Christmas gift! Check this blog post for more!
My third and fourth graders tried this one. They had to design a package to safely transport some cookies. The cookies would be "mailed" to someone for Christmas so they also had to decorate the packages.
STEM Challenge for December: Design a package to transport cookies for a Christmas gift! Check this blog post for more!
They loved this challenge - especially dropping the packages to test their durability for being mailed. We broke a few cookies, but still ate them anyway! Yes, we ate them. I bought enough so that we could have a little snack after the challenge! Butter cookies are the best!

This one can also be found in my TpT store right {HERE}!

Ramps and Sleighs

Wow! I got some really funny looks about this one. My idea was that the reindeer decided not to fly and Santa would need to ramp into your house.
STEM Challenge for December: Build a sleigh to hold packages and then find the perfect angle of ramp to slide it down! Great fun. Check the blog post for more!

Oh my, did we have fun with this one! Fifth graders built a sleigh, decorated it, and experimented with ramps to find the best angle for sliding the sleigh. We know Santa doesn't ride down ramps to deliver presents, but maybe he has to use a ramp to take off in that sleigh and get airborne! Right? 

Or maybe, the reindeer really did quit on him and he had to ramp into some houses. It could happen!

STEM Challenge for December: Build a sleigh to hold packages and then find the perfect angle of ramp to slide it down! Great fun. Check the blog post for more!

Some of them were quite creative in adding elves, Santas, presents, and reindeer to their sleigh! We loved this challenge and you can find it right {HERE}!


Candy Boxes

Kids loved this one and then we enjoyed some Christmas Candy when it was over!
STEM for Christmas: Use Christmas candy and build the perfect container to hold it! Check this blog post for more Christmas STEM!

Christmas Candy Boxes is a challenge we tried a year ago, but I could not get it tested and finished before the Christmas season was over. So, when February rolled around we tried it again with some slightly different rules. Like the candy box had to be heart shaped and we used Valentine's Day candy instead.

One of the rules of this task was the candy must fit in the box. Can you see the students above measuring the candy? Too funny!

The team that had the best box was awarded a small bag of candy, We really enjoyed sharing these and trying the candy in them to see how it would fit.

STEM for Christmas: Use Christmas candy and build the perfect container to hold it! Check this blog post for more Christmas STEM!

You can find the Valentine's Day Candy Box Activity{HERE}, but the resource also includes the directions and lab sheets for using this idea at Christmas time! It's a two-in-one challenge!

So, there you are - some STEM challenges for this busy holiday season! Kids will love them!



3 comments

  1. Quick question - on the interlocking cube tree activity - do you give each group the same amount of cubes? Thank you for all these great ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing all your STEM act activities. The kids will love them.
    Beti
    Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

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