As the holidays draw near, it is a wonderful time to capture students enthusiasm for Christmas and introduce some STEM concepts. Today we have some really cool secret picture reveal activities. Fantastic for elementary and middle school students to learn logic, coding, graphing, plotting and more. As a kid I LOVED doing these types of Christmas STEM Printables!
Christmas STEM Printables
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As a kid I LOVED working on projects that has a big reveal at the end. Puzzles, logic challenges, coding projects… if they had a secret that I could uncover, I wanted to do them!
The thing with these types of projects is that they are very satisfying for kids.
I am also a big fan of incorporating art into our STEM work. I truly believe art is an important part of children’s education. It helps build creativity and out of the box thinking, something employers are demanding in newly emerging STEM careers.
Today I have some really neat printables for you. I have bundled them all up into one package that includes all the answer keys.
To do these activities you will need:
The Printable (available for free to STEAM Powered Family Mailing List Members)
Coloured Pencils or Markers
Join the STEAM Powered Family mailing list to access this printable plus get many more educational resources.
Christmas Coding Challenges
The first four activities are Christmas Secret Reveal Coding Challenges.
To do these activities, students must follow the instructions at the top of the page and move through each step on the graph paper provided.
They will need to pay attention to details, including which direction to move, how many spaces to move, and which colour to use for that step.
This set of four printables teaches students about algorithms, which is a group of instructions written by the programmer to tell the computer what to do. They will also learn the concept of debugging, which is how to fix a problem in a program.
If the student goes off course and makes a mistake, they will need to debug and get back on track. This engages their critical thinking and problem solving skills as they move backwards through each step evaluating until they find the error (bug), and debug to remove it from their code!
Remember the mistake could be in any part of the algorithm. Did they use the wrong colour? Did they move the wrong direction? Or perhaps they moved the wrong number of squares.
Debugging is a very important part of learning coding! Mistakes are not a bad thing, they are all part of our brains learning new things.
In the end you will have four festive pictures created by code!
For the last activity we have a plotting challenge that will teach students math (graphing) skills in addition to art. There are many similarities between this activity and the previous coding activities. Students will find they need to use many of the same strategies and skills, but with some differences.
By doing this activity right after the first ones, we help kids learn how to evaluate instructions critically, apply their logical thinking, and change strategies as situations demand.
Graphing and plotting is also excellent math practice.
Once again students will move carefully through each set of steps and find all the plot points. Once they have all the plot points, students will connect them using the appropriate colour to reveal that part of the image. Then they move to the next set step and set of plot points to do the next part of the image.
They will learn how to work with the X and Y axis as they graph their art.
Encourage kids to still use their debugging skills they mastered on the previous challenges to address any mistakes in this challenge.
At the end another piece of art will be revealed!
Tips for Using Christmas STEM Printables
Since debugging is a big part of this challenge, students may prefer to do their coding and graphing with pencils first, then add the colour as a final step.
After each sheet an answer key is provided. Use this if the student gets stuck as part of their debugging process.
At the top of each challenge is a word scramble. Unscramble the word(s) to get a clue about the secret reveal.
Most of all have fun with STEM, coding and graphing this holiday season!