Engineering Activities

There are so many amazing collaborative engineering activities out there, but they are in all different formats and are difficult to utilize with students due to be organized in different ways and scattered over so many sites. I've created slideshow that are ready to use with students and are free to you! Most of these can be modified to work with any grade level, however, I've listed them from youngest grade levels to oldest and put what grade levels I typically use them with.

  1. Calendar STEM Challenges - STEM challenges themed to the months, weather, and holidays for August to May. Typically used in grades 1-5.

  2. Nursery Rhymes and Superheroes - Grades K-3

  3. Superheroes, fairy tales, and space themed engineering activities - Grades K-4

  4. Native American and Fairy Tales Collaborative Engineering Slideshow - Typically grades 1-2

  5. Civil War STEM Challenges - Grades 1-5

  6. Pirates, Boats, and Amusement Parks - Grades 2-5

  7. Medieval Collaborative Engineering Slideshow - Typically grades 3-4

  8. Greek, Green Energy, and other Collaborative Engineering Slideshow - Typically grades 3-6

  9. Rube Goldberg Machines and Bridges - Grades 4-8

  10. Fast Challenges (Misc.) Collaborative Engineering Slideshow - Typically grades 5-8

  11. Junk Box Wars - 12 awesome engineering activities with students instructions, worksheets, and everything else you could need! Typically used with grades 3+

  12. 90 Collaborative Engineering Activities - I haven't had a chance to put these into a slideshow yet, but I want to share them on here in case they are useful! Some activities are harder than others - works with grade 1 and up.

  13. Collaborative Engineering X3 - In this set, I had students stay in the same team for 3 weeks and complete related challenges during those weeks. I explained that it was important to reflect on what went well and what didn't and improve from week to week. Students didn't like it at first, but they ended up forming some awesome connections by the end! Some activities are harder than others - works with grade 1 and up.

Collaborative Engineering Roles - It may help for all students to have a role or to establish some guidelines when completing engineering activities. Something that has helped my classes is to divide materials evenly between students, and students are only allowed to touch their materials, therefore making sure everyone gets to help build. You can even color code materials.

Example: Person A gets 3 red straws and a piece of foil, Person B gets 3 blue straws and a piece of foil, and Person C gets 3 green straws and a piece to build with. These 3 people create one structure, but can only touch their own materials, which increases communication and collaboration in the team.

Roles Posters- One idea and Another

Establishing Guidelines for Asking for Help - I want students to advocate for themselves and be problem solvers, so I teach them ways to solve their problems throughout the course and then establish a "three before me" rule. Meaning, they need to try to solve their problem 3 times before asking for teacher intervention. I use this Wheel of Choices board to help remind them.

Collaborative Reflections - You may want to have students reflect on their collaborative engineering in order to improve how they work together and communicate, as well as how to better utilize materials and create better projects. There are a ton of reflections out there. You could have something simple like this or something more mapped out like from Get Caught Engineering.