How to Treat Your Students with Halloween STEM

Do your students love Halloween jokes and riddles? I know mine always do! Even the jokes that make us groan (pun intended)!

"What is a skeleton's favorite instrument?"

The answer to that one will definitely make you groan...
STEM Challenge: Based on Halloween- Haunted House Elevator, Haunted House Maze, and Pumpkin Launchers!
We tried some challenges specifically for the month of October and the kids loved them all! Much better than candy treats (probably not, but they did love them!)
  • Pumpkin Elevators
  • Haunted House Mazes
  • Pumpkin Launchers

Pumpkin Elevators

My original thinking about this one was to have a haunted house that needed to deliver some pumpkins to the top floor. The challenge was to create an elevator that would do this. So, we had two things to consider:
  1.  Make a haunted house.
  2. Create an elevator that would hold weight.
STEM Challenge: Create an elevator for a Haunted House. It must have a cranking device and hold the weight of a pumpkin!

First, we needed boxes for the haunted house and I grabbed some boxes from our teacher workroom. (By grabbed I mean that I emptied the boxes of reams of copy paper and stole the boxes. Copy paper boxes are the perfect size for so many things!)

Anyway, as the test class worked on this we discovered that the box was too deep and they had trouble creating things inside it. So, I cut them in half!

That was perfect!

Next problem was creating the elevator- it had to have a crank mechanism and a platform to support the weight of the pumpkin.
STEM Challenge: Create an elevator for a Haunted House. It must have a cranking device and hold the weight of a pumpkin!

Above, you can see how a team solved the problem of the crank, but let's talk about the pumpkins first.

Pumpkins!

When I started working on these challenges I was planning on buying those little pumpkins you see around Halloween time.

These are the pumpkins (or gourds) I eventually found and you can see how small they are by looking at the apple. However, I couldn't find these when we were testing this challenge.

Instead, we used those plastic pumpkins in the photo above. Those are actually drink bottles from the dollar store and I filled them with sand to make them heavier. We also tried some black "witches kettles" filled with candy corn.

 Anyway, back to the elevators!
STEM Challenge: Create an elevator for a Haunted House. It must have a cranking device and hold the weight of a pumpkin!

Students made great little platforms with craft sticks and straws and their cranking systems were so creative. Many of them wanted to just have a winding-up system, but the task rules required having a handle to turn the crank.

Kids had the most fun using dollar store Halloween decorations to design the Haunted Houses!

Mazes

My younger students made mazes and we called these Haunted House Mazes. Again, I had to go searching for the perfect boxes for this!
STEM Challenge: Create a Haunted House Maze that a ball will roll through!

Remember, all those copy paper boxes I borrowed? Well, the Elevators used the box and these mazes used the box lids! Perfect!

Until I needed more lids. That is when I discovered that a soft drink "flat" is the perfect size for a maze. A "flat" is the cardboard box that a case of soft drinks uses. Another box you can try is a gift box.
STEM Challenge: Create a Haunted House Maze that a ball will roll through!

We used craft sticks and a lot of white glue to create our maze paths and a ton of Halloween decorations to create the Haunted House look. The ball going through our mazes is a plastic eyeball I also found at the dollar store.

Launchers

I think all kids love building catapult systems. I have several different versions of a device propelling something. This one launched a candy pumpkin.
STEM Challenge: Use materials to create a device that will propel a small candy pumpkin!

The materials were things I already had in my cabinets- just basic craft items and kids had to build a device to make that pumpkin sail. We set up foam cups to knock down and they had a blast.
STEM Challenge: Use materials to create a device that will propel a small candy pumpkin!


All three Halloween Challenges are part of a bundle at my Teachers Pay Teachers store and you can find them right >>>>HERE!

We also have brand new STEM Quest that features skeletons that would be absolutely perfect for the month of October. Take a look at it:
STEM Quest and Challenge- all about the skeleton!

Have a Happy Halloween! Oh, and the skeleton's favorite instrument is a TROMBONE! (groan)



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