Can you believe Halloween is right around the corner? It feels like only yesterday we were working on back to school activities in my classroom. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year with hands on crafts and fall-themed projects on display around the school. If you are a tech or STEM teacher, you may be feeling a little left out of the fun and excitement of the season. That doesn't have to be the case though!
If you have been with me for a while, you know how much I love integrating holidays and celebrations into my STEM lessons, and Halloween is no exception. I am so excited to share with you 4 of my favorite fun and engaging Halloween STEM activities you and your students are sure to love.
What Supplies do I Need For Fall STEM Projects?
When talking about STEM projects, it's easy to get hung up on the technology aspect of STEM. The purpose of using STEM projects in the classroom is not only to learn how to use technology but also how to use critical thinking skills and creativity to solve problems. This means, students can use a variety of materials to complete their STEM projects and they don't even have to be bought at the store.
Examples of STEM supplies for Halloween or Fall projects could include:
- Toilet paper rolls
- Popsicle sticks
- Wooden or plastic blocks
- Foam balls
- Black paper plates
- String or Yarn
- Plastic spiders (from the discount store)
If you are lucky enough to have an amazing PTA or classroom parent volunteer, consider asking for donations of these supplies a few weeks in advance. Don't be afraid to repurpose items to use in your STEM projects. Not only will it save you money, but will also help your students to think about their problems in more creative ways.
1. 5 Little Pumpkins STEM Challenge
This hands-on activity is a great way to get your students building, thinking about balance, and working on their fine motor skills.
With supplies like toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks, wooden or plastic blocks, legos, or any other type of building material you have available, your students will be creating a gate that is able to hold 5 pumpkins. Your pumpkins can be small plastic pumpkin trinkets from the dollar store, miniature pumpkins from the craft store or even orange pom-poms. Use whatever you have on hand!
This challenge is great to do as a center, small group, or whole group activity. For extra fun, ask students to work in teams. They will love working collaboratively to create their gates.
I generally like to keep the build time to 15 minutes. Then, I use the last 10 minutes to have students complete response sheets. If you have extra time, ask students or teams to take a minute or two to talk about the successes and challenges they faced when working on their gate.
This Halloween STEM activity is also the perfect time to use and review the engineering design process. It's something I focus on heavily throughout the year. If you would like more information on the engineering design process and how I use it in my classroom, be sure to check out my helpful Design Process video!
2. Jack-O-Lanterns STEM Challenge
This jack-o-lantern challenge is the perfect addition to your Halloween STEM activities this fall! Your students will love the challenge of creating a jack-o-lantern with Lego or similar style building bricks.
This challenge is perfect for centers or as a whole group activity. Because the included task cards come in two different styles, you can differentiate the activity based on the skill level of your students or class.
This challenge is not only fun but also incorporates skills such as:
- Math – symmetry and pattern
- Literacy – story writing with detail and creative elements
- Social emotional learning – create a jack-o-lantern face that shows emotion
I love including battery-operated candles from the discount store. This allows students to safely put a light inside their jack-o-lanterns at the end of the challenge. Turning off the lights in the room to watch all of their creations glow is such an awesome experience my students always love.
I usually give students about 25 minutes to complete this challenge. Then, I give them some time at the end of class to complete their reflection sheets while enjoying the glow from the jack-o-lanterns.
If you have display space in the school, consider putting some of the most creative creations on display for the whole school to enjoy.
3. Spider Web STEM Challenge
Incorporating creativity with fine motor skills is simple with this spooky fun spider web STEM challenge. With just a little pre-prep from you, even your youngest students will be excited to successfully complete this challenge.
This activity can be paired with any spider-themed book, but some of my favorites include:
- Little Miss Spider by David Kirk
- Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
- Itsy Bitsy Spider by Keith Chapman
- Do All Spiders Spin Webs? by Melvin and Gilda Berger
After completing a read-aloud of a spider-themed book, it's time for students to take on the challenge of building their very own spider web!
To help those students who may be a little apprehensive about spiders, I like to show the YouTube video All Things Animals: Spiders to remind them spiders are helpful, not harmful or scary.
In 15 minutes, students will use paper plates and yarn or string to weave their own spider web. This can be done as a center or whole group activity. However, each student will be making and taking home their own spider web creations at the end of the challenge. I like to give my students plastic spiders from the discount store to include on their web.
To encourage teamwork, students can share their creations and drawings from their reflections sheets with the class. These are also really fun to hang up in the classroom or hallway!
4. Witch's Tower Math Challenge
Your students will be excited to use math to complete this fun witch's tower challenge. With three styles of task cards, a design process poster, student response sheets, and certificates, you will have everything you need to complete one of my favorite Halloween STEM activities.
Supplies needed to complete this challenge include:
- Foam balls, marshmallows, or play-dough
Because this challenge uses such simple supplies, it's easy to prep and complete. It's perfect for a shortened schedule day if your school plans time for Halloween parties.
Students will love using the task cards and supplies to create the tallest tower that stands alone, creating as many 3D shapes as they can, or creating a symmetrical-shaped witch's tower.
The reflection sheets give students the opportunity to reflect on the process by drawing a picture, writing about their creation, and answering questions about their witch's tower.
The math reflection sheet asks students to count the number of balls and toothpicks they used, identify the shape of the base of their tower, and even write an equation showing the total number of balls and toothpicks used. It's a fun way to incorporate a little math into your Halloween STEM activities.
Halloween STEM Activities for the Win
All of these activities are sure to be crowd-pleasers in your classroom this October whether you are a classroom teacher, tech teacher, or dedicated STEM teacher like me. Each of these activities includes Halloween-themed certificates and stickers for you to print out and give to your students. You can grab each of these activities plus 2 more in the Halloween STEM challenges bundle!
Be sure to save these fun Halloween STEM activities to your favorite Pinterest teacher page!