Stem challenges are engaging activities that require children to use critical thinking skills to accomplish set goals. These challenges give children the chance to explore science concepts through hands-on exploration, creativity, and teamwork.
First grade STEM challenges are not only beneficial to children's cognitive development, but they are a lot of fun, as well. Because there is no right or wrong way to complete these challenges, children get the chance to do things on their own terms and in fun, creative ways.
Here are 28 super fun first grade STEM challenges your students will enjoy. Simply provide them with the one-sentence challenge and the materials and the rest is up to them!
1. Build the tallest tower possible using playdough and buttons.
2. Build a tower using exactly 100 Legos.
3. Build a fan-powered cardboard car using wooden skewers, straws, and construction paper.
- construction paper
- wooden skewers (3)
- plastic straws (2)
- plastic bottle caps (4)
- corrugated cardboard
- hobby knife (for adult use)
4. Make a miniature parachute for a plastic animal using tissue paper, yarn, and tape.
5. Build a playdough person that can stand up.
6. Make a volcano inside a lemon half using baking soda.
7. Make a maze for marbles using a paper plate and construction paper.
8. Build a plastic bottle car and make it move using a balloon.
- plastic bottle
- bottle caps (4)
- flexible straws (3)
- wooden skewers
- small rubber bands
- electrical tape
- hobby knife (for adult use)
9. Make a paper airplane that can fly across the room.
10. Grow a miniature garden in cracked eggshells.
- wax paper
- garden soil
- potting mix
- magnifying glasses
- glue gun
- glue sticks
- play sand
- EZ Seed
- grass seed (any kind of seeds)
11. Make a family of dolls using pipe cleaners and aluminum foil.
12. Draw a 2D shape and make a 3D version of it using construction paper.
13. Make a paper chain that reaches from one end of the room to the other.
14. Make a dominoes chain reaction using wooden blocks and Hotwheels tracks.
15. Build a house using jelly beans and toothpicks.
16. Build a structure out of toilet paper rolls and paper plates.
17. Make a marble maze using playdough.
18. Make bouncy balls out of cornstarch, glue, and borax.
19. Build a tall tower using fake apples and playdough.
20. Build a tower out of drinking straws and tape.
21. Build a mini camping tent using straws, tape, and construction paper.
22. Make a pom-pom drop on the wall using toilet paper rolls and tape.
23. Tape paper into different shapes to make a structure that can support the weight of a book.
24. Build a tower that is as tall as you, using only 3oz paper cups.
- large flowering plants (ex: tulips)
- cup of water
- paper plates
- magnifying glass
- colored pencils
25. Build a bridge from one desk to another using straws and tape.
26. Using a styrofoam sheet, see how many spaghetti noodles can support the weight of a book.
- small bowl
- dish soap
- aluminum foil
- paper towels
- plastic plate
- digital multimeter