St. Patrick’s Day STEM Activities and Challenges Kids Love

 March in an elementary classroom can start to bring that dreaded thought of “the end of the school year” to many students. As teachers, we know there is still so much learning to be had and testing on the horizon. We don’t need students to start “checking out”. STEM activities are a great way to incorporate some fun, and keep learning progressing, with some hands-on challenges. Through these St. Patrick’s Day STEM activities, students will engage in cooperative learning, problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills, as well as engineering practices! I am excited to share with you four of my favorite STEM projects for March that your students will LOVE!

Cover showing the four St. Patrick's Day STEM challenges that are available for March.

What are STEM Activities? 

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. These are all essential skills our students should be exposed to during their learning career, and students are never too young to start. STEM activities are designed to be hands-on learning and allow for a great opportunity to take our elementary engineers through the design process. 

These St. Patrick’s Day STEM challenges are usually presented as problems for students to solve with specific supplies and parameters to be followed. The best part about STEM activities is that the focus is more on the engineering design process than the final product. Students are encouraged to reflect on their design and think about how to improve it. 

The four basic steps to any STEM activity include: 

1. The problem presented to the students

2. Research and plan

3. Construction

4. Analyze and reflect

I can tell you from experience, students will love these fun STEM activities for March. Believe it or not, they are more focused while working on STEM challenges than almost any other St. Patrick’s Day activities in the classroom. My students always beg for a little more time to work on their various challenges during STEM and I have even had students ask to stay in from recess to continue working on their projects! That’s definitely a win-win in my book! 

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March STEM Activities

So let’s talk about some hands-on STEM activities for March that will not only be fun, but educational as well. It can feel overwhelming to try to come up with fun challenges that follow the STEM engineering process and won’t take a hit on the pocketbook! That’s why I am here to help you with these 4 amazing hands-on activities you can easily complete with your students using affordable, simple materials. 

But first, I want to share with you what every STEM challenge will have for the teacher and students. These materials will help the teacher plan and prep and will help the students by taking them through the design process

  • Design Brief – The brief is an overview of the STEM challenge. It will display the difficulty level, problem or backstory, the challenge, criteria for the build, and suggested materials. 
  • Teacher Brief – Materials needed, suggested differentiation options, and rules for the challenge.
  • Anchor Chart – A colorful one-page poster to display at the front of the classroom to remind students of the challenge
  • Plan Sheets – Students can fill these out individually or in groups. They are asked to get their ideas down on paper first. 
  • Data Collection Forms – Document the data collected from the challenge
  • Reflection Sheet – Asks students to reflect and think about how they can improve their design. 

This picture shows the briefing pages for the teacher and the student to introduce the challenge and components.

This image shows the planning pages that are given for one March STEM challenge.

These are the recording sheets and reflection sheets that students will use for collecting and analyzing data.

One question I always get from teachers is “Can you include an example in your STEM packets?”  The short answer is absolutely not.  That will deter students from creating their own original ideas together, as a group. I guarantee that if you give a design example to 5 groups of students, you will get 5 that look exactly the same. Sadly, students are trained to believe there is only one correct answer.  Through STEM, your students will learn that there are a variety of ways to accomplish a goal.  That is one big beauty of STEM in the classroom! 

Now, let’s take a look at the four awesome STEM challenges for March:

1. Bucket Towers

This challenge asks students to build towers to hide the pots of gold from sneaky leprechauns! The following components are the criteria: (1) The tower must be able to stand on its own and (2) the tower must be able to hold gold. That’s it! Then the students are free to create their tower after research. 

Image of a finished St. Patrick's Day STEM project for Bucket Towers

Let’s get a little more in-depth on the skills this challenge encourages:

  1. Engineering and Design: Students are tasked with designing and building towers using materials like straws, masking tape, plastic cups, scissors, string, and marshmallows. This involves planning, creativity, and problem-solving to construct a stable tower that can stand on its own and support the weight of the gold.
  2. Structural Engineering: Building towers that can stand independently and support the weight requires an understanding of structural engineering principles. Students need to consider the strength and stability of their designs to ensure they meet the specified criteria. 
  3. Material Science: The challenge introduces students to different materials (straw, tape, cups, string, marshmallows) and requires them to consider the properties of these materials in constructing their towers. This encourages an understanding of material science and how materials can be used for specific purposes. 
  4. Problem Solving: As students encounter challenges or difficulties in building their towers, they engage in problem-solving to overcome obstacles. This skill is essential in STEM fields, where finding solutions to real-world problems is a common practice.
  5. Collaboration: Working in teams to construct towers promotes collaboration and teamwork. Students share ideas, distribute tasks, and contribute collectively to the success of the project.
  6. Creativity: Designing and building towers with limited materials requires creativity. Students must think outside the box to create effective and stable structures to hide the pots of gold.

Wow! Now you can see all the real-life skills a simple themed STEM activity can address! And your students will be on your case for another experiment all. the. time…. 

2. Lucky Rainbows

This STEM challenge is super fun and easy to complete. Students are asked to construct the longest rainbow using pipe cleaners, marshmallows, and Fruit Loops to help the leprechaun find his going coins at the end of a rainbow. Then, students are asked to measure the rainbow they constructed to see which team has the longest rainbow! What I love about these challenges is they are easily adaptable for any grade level. If measurement isn’t your standard, the younger studtns can simply count the Fruit Loops. 

Image of a March STEM challenge, Lucky Rainbows

This activity is a fun way for students to demonstrate engineering skills, teamwork, measurement skills and adaptability. Once cone, they will collect and analyze data and then interpret the data to answer questions about the challenge.

3. Marshmallow Catapult

In this STEM challenge, students will be using Lucky Charms. We all know the leprechaun loves those sugary marshmallows! Students are asked to construct a catapult to shoot the marshmallows as far away as possible. The suggested materials for this challenge are a plastic spoon, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, a small plastic cup, straws, and Lucky Charms marshmallows.

Image of a finished St. Patrick's Day STEM challenge, Marshmallow Catapult

As a teacher, one of the “perks” of STEM is if you don’t have a suggested material, you can substitute it for something else or leave out completely! The same hold true for the rules. If they are too difficult, adjust them for your students. STEM is very versatile and students are always up for the challenge of creating with what they have. You will be amazed at the outcome! 

Students are basically constructing simple machines in this St. Patrick’s Day activity. This is ther perfect way to expand on the science behind simple machines by introducing vocabulary like level, force, and projectiles.  Depending on your level of students, this challenge not only allows student to have fun with a creative project but also introduces them to the principles of simple machines, force, and energy transfer.

4. Leprechaun Launch

For the final challenge, students are asked to design a launch to take the leprechaun AWAY from ll the leprechaun traps that pop up during this time of year! Through research and design, students will come up with amazing ways to fly that leprechaun out of trouble! 

Image of a finished March STEM challenge, Leprechaun Launch

Add STEM to Your March Plans

These easy and affordable St. Patrick’s Day STEM activities are the key to keeping your students engaged and hitting their learning goals during this holiday. These are so much fun and simple to introduce to your curriculum. Designed with a purpose, each of these STEM challenges includes materials and supplies that are easy to find, super affordable (you can even ask parents for donations) and follow the STEM design process. If you’re ready to give them a try, click the cover below!

Image of the Product Cover for the St. Patrick's Day STEM challenges

Try STEM in Your Classroom

If I haven’t sold you on these wonderful STEM challenges and how much the students will love adding these activities into your classroom, give this FREE STEM Activity Packet a try. This activity is great to use alone or with the book Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon. STEM is so much more than just fun projects. It’s a great way for students to develop critical thinking skills and apply why that have learned in class to a real-life challenge or problem. You won’t be sorry!

Pin It!

Be sure to save these easy and affordable STEM activities for March to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you can come back anytime in the future for engaging STEM activities during this fun holiday! 

Pin for Pinterest of the St. Patrick's Day STEM challenges


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