Lauren Hodson | September 2016
3 Creative Ways to Introduce STEAM Challenges
I believe that play is so important to learning. I also just love to play games. I especially love STEAM Challenges. They not only include problem-solving, critical thinking skills, and creativity, but they are FUN! I had so many STEAM program education challenges that I wanted to try out in my classroom, I couldn’t decide which one to do first. So… I decided to pick a few classrooms warm-up activities and introduce them all at once! But, with an added playful splash of randomness. Here are 3 creative ways to introduce STEAM Challenges in your classroom!
Here are 3 Creative Ways to Introduce STEAM Challenges.
All techniques begin with these procedures
- Divide students into “Teams”
- There should be the same number of teams as STEAM Challenges being used. Ex. 4 STEAM Challenges, 4 Teams.
- Materials for each challenge should be placed in a paper bag along with a card explaining the challenge prompt. Bags should be stapled closed so nobody peeks.
- Each team should be given a number to determine their order. I do this with numbered wooden craft sticks. After the groups are made, they choose a stick to determine their order.
1. Yankee Challenge Swap: Like a Gift Exchange
- Bags of materials and challenge prompts are placed in one location. Students cannot look inside them.
- Team 1 picks a bag. Then Team 2, and so on until each team has a bag.
- Teams open their bags and read their prompts out loud so that all teams can learn about the other challenge options.
- Team 1 decides if they want to keep their challenge or steal a challenge from another team.
- Team 2 then makes the same decision. Continue until each team either keeps or steals.
- Teams can participate in a second round of keeping or stealing
- If you add more challenge bags than groups, teams can either keep, steal, or grab a “mystery bag.” If a team grabs a mystery bag, then they must keep it. This is the risk.
2. Scavenger Challenge Hunt
- Numbers challenge bags of materials
- Numbers challenge cards
- Hides challenge cards around the room
- Team 1, searches the room for a challenge prompt card. Then Team 2, and so on until each team finds a card.
- Pick up the challenge bag with the same number on their prompt.
3. Roll of the Dice or Game Spinner
Roll of the Dice: Must have 6 Challenges
- Numbers the challenge bags 1-6
- Provides the die
- Team 1 rolls the die and that number is the challenge bag that they get. Continue to Team 2, and so on. If students roll a number that has already been taken, they roll again.
- Numbers the challenge bags
- Makes a homemade spinner with the number of challenges. Ex. 4 spaces for 4 challenges, 6 spaces for 6 challenges.
- Use an existing game spinner and have the same number of challenges ready
- Team 1 spins and that number in the challenge bag they get. Continue to Team 2, and so on. If students spin a number that has already been taken, they spin again.
More Helpful Links
What STEAM Challenges have you used in your classroom?