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Two STEM Challenges for Elementary Grades That are Perfect for October


We have yet to encounter a student that doesn’t enjoy STEM Challenges.  Here are two project-based activities for students that integrate reading.

The STEM Challenges

     Create a Bat Challenge

  • Ask students to read about bats.
  • Based on what they have learned ask them to design a bat based on the criteria that you give them.
  • The bat needed to be able to hang upside down from a hook.

I did this challenge with my first, second, and third graders.  I provided the readings to them, although you can easily read aloud to them or provide them with a variety of “bat” books.

Here are the criteria that I gave my students:

  • They worked with a partner.
  • Students must use only the materials provided to them.  In my case, students had construction paper, straws (limit 4), craft sticks (limit 2), pipe cleaners (limit 3), brass fasteners (limit 3), yarn, string, tape, and glue.  By no means did they use all of these things.
  • Students had access to the following tools:  scissors, rulers, and a hole punch.

Of course, you can change the criteria to fit your student’s needs.  Some people put a time limit on the project, however, I didn’t find this necessary.   Below are some of their creations.


     Create an Instrument to Remove a Bloodsucker

First of all, students will want to know what a bloodsucker is!  A bloodsucker is any animal that survives on blood.  Before I researched the topic, I had no idea how many different bloodsuckers there are.

  • Again, I asked students to read about bloodsuckers.
  • Based on what they learned they designed an instrument to “remove a bloodsucker from its host.”

Here were my criteria for this challenge:

  • Students picked a bloodsucker from an assortment that I ran off on cardstock.  I taped it onto their desk(s).  This way the same amount of tape is used and the organisms are taped down the same way.
  • Students must use the materials provided.  I gave them pipe cleaners (limit 3), index cards (limit 2), coffee stirrers (limit 2), craft sticks (limit 2), brass fasteners (limit 1), tape, rubber bands, and glue.
  • Tools provided were scissors and a hole punch.
  • The instrument needs to be held in the student’s hand, and their hand can not touch the bloodsucker.

Again, you can modify the criteria.  Below is an example of cards I wrote for students to read.

Premade October STEM Challenges for Elementary Students



For more fun, October STEM Challenges read Create a Spider Web: A Fun STEM Challenge!

And remember, it’s all science!



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