During the first week back after a long winter break, first graders participated in a STEM challenge to build the biggest snowman they could from one 6 foot sheet of white bulletin board paper. Teachers only provided a few simple rules for the STEM challenge: student would only get one 6 foot sheet of paper, the snowmen had to have three seperate paper circles and must include buttons, eyes, nose, arms etc. The objective was to build the biggest snowman they could and to be as creative as possible.
The engagement level for this activity was extraordinary, the students really loved working on this project. Why are STEM challenges used in the classroom? This particular STEM challenge is cross-curricular. In English Language Arts this month, the majority of the literature that students will be exposed to will be about snowmen so this was kind of a kick off for this topic, in writing students will be working on the informational writing style explaining how to build a snowman. Additionally, students had completed a measurement unit in Mathematics prior to winter break and following the completion of the STEM challenge students measured each of the snowmen in centimeters to determine which was worthy of the title "The Biggest Snowman".