If the antsy students or the never-ending paperwork on your desk weren’t a sign, let me be the first to tell you: the end of the school year is in sight! I don’t know about you, but this time of year always wears me down. However, I also strive to make the end of the year fun and memorable for my students. Enter the hero of the story: STEM activities. STEM projects make the perfect end of the year activities because they are hands-on, engaging, and encourage collaboration.
As an extra bonus, many STEM activities are also easy to put together and educational. If you’re looking for fun, hands-on STEM projects and ways to engage your students in end of the year activities, you’re in the right place.
Here are some STEM end of the year activities:
Foil Boat Challenge
Add this to your list of end of the year activities! All you’ll need is foil, water, and pennies (or any other type of weight). For this end of the year activity, you’ll give each group of students the same amount of foil and have them create a boat that they think can withstand the most weight without sinking.
This activity is the perfect way to have some fun while reviewing density. I recommend having students sketch a plan before starting, draw their final product, and even participate in some writing prompts about the experiment. You can even take this activity outside if the weather is nice!
There is something so fun about catapults. A simple catapult can be constructed from popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and plastic spoons. Give students their materials, and see what they come up with!
Their goal is to create a catapult that launches an object the furthest. They can launch a pom pom, a small eraser, or really make it extra fun by using mini marshmallows (bonus points if they can aim it into a cup or their partner’s mouth). Not only will your students have a blast, but they’ll also be reviewing several scientific and mathematical concepts while exercising their critical thinking skills.
If my students had to pick from these end of the year activities, this might be it! You’ll need paper plates, tape, and a marble. I like to keep students in partners for this rather than groups to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate and be hands-on. Students will work with their partners to create a roller coaster out of their paper plates and tape.
Students can be as creative as they want, even going as far as creating a themed rollercoaster. During this STEM project, students will review concepts like force, gravity, motion, potential energy, and kinetic energy. You can also extend this activity by giving students time to try out each other’s roller coasters.
This is probably one of the simplest end of the year activities you can do, and students always love it. For this activity, you’ll need paper and various textbooks. This is a good activity to use when you’ve started packing up your classroom and have limited materials available.
You’ll give each group five pieces of paper, and they’ll use them to create a structure that will support the weight of a textbook. With this activity, students will be able to explore which shapes provide the strongest base and how to make the most of their limited supplies.
There’s just something about a paper airplane that brings back so many elementary school memories for me. For this STEM activity, you’ll give each student three pieces of paper and have them create three different types of paper airplanes. Again, students are encouraged to get creative with different themes, designs, and even colors.
Once all the planes are built, set up a starting area and see which plane can fly the farthest distance. To extend this activity, create a class graph or chart to show each plane’s distance and discuss the similarities and differences between the planes. If you still have extra time, try the same activity using different types of paper, like graphing paper, construction paper, or lined notebook paper. Have students analyze if these paper types change the outcome.
Want the 10 Day STEM Challenge?
Keep students engaged towards the end of the year with this 10 Day STEM Challenge Countdown! With this resource, you’ll get ten STEM end of the year activities, along with materials pages, example pictures, teacher tips, and student recording pages.
Each STEM activity is educational, engaging, and low-prep for you. One great thing about this countdown is that you can do the activities in the order that works best for you! So, if you’re packing up certain materials on a certain day, save the experiments that require the least amount of materials for the very end.
I hope you have a blast doing these end of the year activities with your students! You and your students enjoy having some fun after a long year full of hard work. If you’re looking for quick and simple gifts to give your students, check out this blog!