It’s time for a STEM Challenge! Make It Move is a great STEM Challenge for big or small groups that requires creativity, ingenuity and lots of fun! It can be done solo but would be even more fun in a group or teams. So who’s up for a Make It Move! STEM Challenge?
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I love a project that is scalable, where my boys can work independently, in teams, or in big groups. Having many different options with a project gives us so many more learning opportunities and with each new time we try a challenge like this the kids learn something new.
The Make It Move! STEM Challenge is a lot of fun and can be used for almost any elementary aged child. I have a Make It Move! STEM Challenge for older kids that I will post shortly. Make sure you are on my newsletter list or follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) so you don’t miss it.
STEM CHALLENGE – MAKE IT MOVE!
Race your car from one end of the table to the other. This can be a head to head race or simply who can make it to the end.
You may not touch your car or alter the track. You also can not lift the table.
When we started the first ideas to come up were building a ramp or lifting the table, so it was important that they understood those were against the rules. Building the ramp would alter the track.
Once they understood those rules, the creativity really started. Of course we had to convert our homeschool table into a race track, complete with cheering crowds!
We had one car altered with magnets. By strapping a magnet to the bottom of the car, the kids were able to use another magnet or a magnet wand on the underside of the table to race it to the other end. The challenge here was finding a car with big enough tires and enough lift so the magnet didn’t rub against the table slowing it down. But once we found one, it worked great! This worked so well the kids kept doing it for hours.
They loved this idea so much they tried to was use the magnets backwards. This involved strapping the magnet to the back of the car, then reversing the wand so the magnets repelled each other, pushing the car forward. This worked, but it was insanely hard to keep the car straight. Having the magnet on the bottom made for a much faster race!
Next idea was to attach a sail to the top of a car and blow on it. We recently did our windpower challenge, so it was neat to see those lessons coming back into play again. This again worked really well.
Another idea they had was to create basically a zipline for the car by attaching a straw to the top and running a string through it. When one end of the string was lifted, it zipped along to the finish line.
Finally, they tried to amp up the windpower with a propulsion system using a balloon. When it worked this was SUPER fast, but getting the balloon blown up, attached and having everything angled just right so it raced took a lot of attention and focus. But when it worked… WOW! The biggest issue became keeping it on the track as it usually ended up flying across the room!
There are so many different ways kids could solve this STEM challenge. The only limit is supplies and imagination. How would you race your car down the track without touching it?
Looking for more great STEM Challenges?
This activity is part of the 28 Days of STEM challenge! There are lots of fantastic STEM activities to keep your budding scientists busy, check it out!