STEAM Activity: Halloween Style



Act as engineers and do STEAM during Halloween in the elementary classroom using Mall-Creme Pumpkins and toothpicks!

STEAM and Halloween. These are two things that my students are over the moon excited about. Do your students get excited when they get to do a STEAM activity? What is not to love about a STEAM activity? You get excited students, and you tons of learning. My students are always over-the-top thrilled when Halloween rolls around, I knew that I wanted to funnel this excitement in a STEAM activity.

What supplies do I need?
Act as engineers and do STEAM during Halloween in the elementary classroom using Mall-Creme Pumpkins and toothpicks!
I always ask my classroom parents the week before for the supplies. I send out a Sign-Up Genius asking for three boxes of toothpicks and six bags of Mall-Creme Pumpkins. I break up the Mall-Creme Pumpkins though into 1 bag each. Parents are more likely to sign up for one bag than six! I would rather have too many Mallo-Creme Pumpkins for the kids than too few.


















How do I do the lesson?
Firstly, I showed this awesome Crash Course for Kids video about engineering. Have you heard of Crash Course Kids? If not, check it out! My kids love the Crash Course for Kids videos even more than BrainPop (and they REALLY love BrainPop!). It is a perfect way to help embody the overall idea of STEAM, and my kids often exclaim throughout the year how they hope to one day be an engineer.

Next, I read Iggy Peck: Architect. Have you read this book before? This book is so cute and rhymes- the kids were hanging on every word. It is also perfect to tie into character education. The kids and I discussed character education after reading the book, and looked for spots in the book that the characters demonstrated cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.





Act as engineers and do STEAM during Halloween in the elementary classroom using Mall-Creme Pumpkins and toothpicks!
Finally, we do our STEAM activity! For this activity, you need toothpicks and a few bags of Mallo-Creme Pumpkins. The pumpkins and toothpicks serve as the building materials. The mission? I tell the kids that we are creating structures - whoever can create the tallest structure that can withstand a Halloween windstorm is the winner. I give them 15 minutes and they get to work in groups of three. Before they start, we go over the idea of teammate and listening to others... this helps avoid any third-grade frustration or tears!


Act as engineers and do STEAM during Halloween in the elementary classroom using Mall-Creme Pumpkins and toothpicks!

After 15 minutes, I say HANDS OFF! First, we survey the room and see which structure is the tallest. If the structures are close, I pull out a ruler. A team thinks they are declared the winner - until I remind them that their structure must withstand the Halloween windstorm! I bring in a hair dryer to class. I flip to the cool setting, and then turn on to see if any of their structures knock down. Many of them do because there is not enough stability and support. Finally, we have a winner!




Act as engineers and do STEAM during Halloween in the elementary classroom using Mall-Creme Pumpkins and toothpicks!
We talk about WHY the winning group won. Why was their structure more stable? What did they do differently than other groups? How can we relate these Mallo-Creme Pumpkin structures to actual buildings? What buildings are most likely to survive and stay safe in a windstorm? What methods should engineers use to build strong buildings?

Do you like to do STEAM activities in the classroom? Have you done a similar activity in the classroom? I would love to hear all about it!

Act as engineers and do STEAM during Halloween in the elementary classroom using Mall-Creme Pumpkins and toothpicks!

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