Building Blocks + STEM Task Cards = AMAZING!

STEM projects and challenges are known for requiring lots of “stuff.” Sometimes it is expensive coding equipment and other times a variety of recyclable materials to get our students creatively. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, some of my students’ favorite activities only involve building blocks. But don’t worry, these building block activities still pack a great punch when it comes to STEM learning. Building blocks plus STEM task cards make an AMAZING activity that your kids will beg for more of!

What are STEM Task Cards?

SPARK Cards like these give your students lots of ideas when completing their STEM task cards challenges.

STEM task cards, similar to other educational task cards, are cards that students complete to focus on a specific skill or concept. What makes them different from other learning activities is that each card focuses on one activity or problem. This makes them great for independent learning and helps students focus on the task at hand.

Students grab a card, complete the activity, and then start on another card. Some task cards for academic skills can be quickly and students will work through an entire stack of cards during a station. Other task cards, like these STEM task cards, take more time and students may complete only one or two in the designated time.

Because I love using STEM task cards and building bricks in my classroom, I created a unique set of task cards that are paired with building bricks. They are intended to spark students’ ideas, creativity, and imagination. Because of this, I call them SPARK Cards. And, I can tell you from experience, that they do spark creativity!

Getting Started with STEM Task Cards

Use this printable baseplate for students to use while completing their STEM task cards.

When I first print out the task cards, I immediately cut and laminate them so I can make sure my students can use them again and again.

Next, I can punch the corner of each card and place them all on a ring. You can also keep the cards in a small file box or bin for easy access.

I like to organize my STEM task cards by season or theme. This makes them really easy for me to find and grab just what I need for an activity.

To get started, the only other thing I grab are the building blocks! It’s an easy set-up for sure. I provide students with a bucket of bricks that includes a variety of colors and sizes. Each student also gets a large base plate to build on.

If you don’t have large base plates for each student, then you can also use a printable building mat. While it doesn’t hold the bricks in place, it does provide students with the parameters for building.

Completing the STEM Challenge

When it’s time for our STEM task card building brick challenge, I can either assign cards to students individually or in groups. In the past, I’ve done this by putting the task cards on each table. I’ve also had students grab a task card from a box as they enter the room.

These STEM task cards are easy to use for differentiation by allowing you to assign specific levels of difficulty to specific students or grade levels.

Next, it’s time for the building bricks. This activity can be as easy as adding a bucket of bricks to the table and letting students build. For younger students, this is the way to go!

Sometimes I like to step up the challenge for older students. I might add a time limit or give them specific “rules” they have to follow in the build. By limiting the number or size of the bricks students are challenged in their thinking and creating.

Another way to differentiate this activity is by focusing on the actual build. Some STEM task cards are easier for students to build than others. It may be helpful to write a number on the back of the card to identify its challenge level. You can then assign the cards based on the difficulty and have each student build at a level where they are challenged but still able to find success.

When my students have completed their STEM challenge, I like to have them reflect on the activity. It’s a great way to get students thinking critically about the challenge. And there’s no better way to wrap up the activity than by sharing the builds. Students love to share what they have created, but they also love seeing and learning from others.

Check out this quick video to get a peek into a set of Spark Cards.

What if I Don’t Have a Set of Building Bricks?

Using building bricks in your classroom is a great way to sneak in some team building, collaboration, and critical thinking skills practice into your curriculum. Because they don’t require a lot of resources, they are easy to use any time.

You don’t even need to go out and buy a ton of expensive kits to use in your classroom. Amazon has tons of building bricks sold in bulk that would be perfect for a classroom! They don’t have to be the expensive name-brand bricks to work for this activity. You can even grab some inexpensive base plates to use year after year.

Other options for getting building bricks to use in your classroom include:

  • Check social media pages for people giving away or selling building bricks
  • Sites like eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace are great for finding bulk LEGO and other building bricks
  • Ask your school to include a request for donations of used building bricks in the school newsletter or email
  • Set up a DonorsChoose project request
  • Look on your district website to see if they have STEM/STEAM kits or building brick kits for teachers to check out
  • Check your local library for rentable resources
  • Ask your PTO/PTA for help or for ideas for fundraisers to cover the cost of a bulk set

Any of these options are a great way to get your sets for free or inexpensively.

STEM Task Cards in any Classroom

You don’t need to be a STEM teacher to use these fun and engaging STEM cards in your classroom. Because these are great for STEM challenges, fun Fridays, or even centers, they are super versatile and great for any classroom. They make great early finisher activities or connect with the writing center as the start of a writing activity.

Be sure to check out all of my STEM Task Cards in the Miss Tech Queen TPT store! If you are looking for a fun seasonal bundle, the Makerspace Task Cards Set has everything you need for fun and engaging STEM building block activities your students will love all year long!

Pin it!

Save these fun and exciting building block and STEM task card ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back the next time you need a quick and easy STEM activity for your kids!

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