Summer Countdown Bloghop and a Parachute STEM Challenge

As we approach the end of the year, things get beyond crazy.  With all of the special events, there are no "normal" days.  To make the best of the crazy schedule and short attention spans, I use a LOT of STEM activities.  STEM activities keep kids focused on academics, but they don't realize they are working and learning.   It's also a good way to use up a lot of the "junk" we collect throughout the year because we are hoarders like to recycle.

Today's challenge:  Help Jack escape from the giant.  He must jump from the top of the beanstalk and land safely on the ground.

Meet Jack

Students were allowed to choose 2 things from my table and 1 piece of yarn.  I gave them the choice of shopping bags, paper napkins, large and small coffee filters, and gallon sized baggies.  (This is where you get to recycle materials that have been cluttering up your storage area!)

 Students were originally given 15 minutes to create their parachute, but that just wasn't enough time for my kids.  They were working in a team of 3 and they were ALL working together.  I heard conversations of, "Let's try ..... because that is too heavy."  "That's a good idea, but what if we tried ..."  It was amazing to listen to them working together.

Here are the parachutes my students created.

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Team 5

Team 6

Now, the fun part!  We took our parachutes to the stairwell to test them.  Each team was allowed to drop their parachute 3 times so each team member had the opportunity to test it.  Each drop was timed to see how long it took to reach the floor.

We recorded each drop.  It took Team 2's parachute over 4 seconds to reach the floor, so they were the big winners.  Team 3 came in close behind at just over 4 seconds.

To make this even more academic, students can graph the results of each drop.  They can average the 3 times for their team.  You can even let the teams take their parachutes back to the drawing board to make adjustments to see if they can slow Jack down even more.

Want some more end of the year ideas?  Head over to Kelsea's blog, Teacher Gems.  Make sure to enter my giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This looks like something my students would love! :)

  2. Love this! I am going to have to try it out next week! We are reading Jack: the True Story of Jack and The Beanstalk right now, so it is perfect timing!


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