Rainbow STEM Challenge – the main laboratory STEM

Have you ever had a Pinterest error? I know I have!

Sometimes a project theoretically looks like unicorns and rainbows, and then you try it in your own classroom and everything becomes chaos.

Children have no work …

The project flops …

That’s why I love having my resources like The Plato Pack Where I * know * teaching will always be a success.

That saves so much time!
Speaking of Pinterest WINS, I wanted to share this simple STEM project so you could print it out and add it to your lesson plans …

Getting ready

Preparing the project was really as easy as collecting supplies for each group:

  • 15 pipe cleaners (if possible one of each color in the rainbow)
  • A small container with plasticine
  • scissors
  • A log sheet for every child

And then I took a small plastic cup with 50 pennies for later testing.

Rainbow STEM challenge

Each group had the same goal: to build the strongest rainbow.

However, to successfully complete the challenge, I have set some additional rules. The rainbows had to:

  • Stand alone
  • Use 15 or fewer pipe cleaners each
  • Do not use any other material, such as tape or staples, to bind the pipe cleaners together.
  • Stand at least 10 cm high

Since much of the STEM learning is design, teamwork and problem solving, I first had the students work with their groups to create a plan on their memo sheet.

Then they started building their rainbow!

After all the groups were done, it was time to test the strength of the arches.

We each worked on a rainbow, put the plastic cup in the middle of the sheet and slowly added a coin to each cup until the sheet collapsed.

The children were so excited to see which design was the strongest!

To broaden students’ thinking, we talked about what works well and what needs to be optimized next time.

Then the kids set out to adjust their designs before we tested them again to see if there were any improvements.

Expansion activity

An easy way to encourage student creativity is to use leftover pipe cleaners to create their own design: trees, animals … anything!

I am also adding an extension log for the download (below).

Get your download

Click the blue button below to download your easy-to-follow instructions Join the Plato Pack to get instant access to more than 150 stunning (but easy preparation!) STEM challenges kids will love!

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