6 End of the Year STEM Activities Your Students Will Love

Can you believe it’s already May? The end of the school year is upon us. Where did the time go? It feels like only yesterday we were welcoming our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students into our classrooms. But now it’s the end of the year, and they aren’t quite as eager as they were months ago. So, how do you keep your kiddos excited about learning during these last weeks of school? With these exciting end of the year STEM activities, of course!

All of these STEM activities are perfect for you and your students during those final weeks of the year. Your students will love them because they require creative thinking and hands-on building. You will love them because you will be able to sneak in some extra skills practice. Let’s take a look at these 6 fun end of the year STEM activities you can use in your classroom today!

1. Grillin’ and Chillin’ Challenge

I like to start this end of the year STEM challenge by making up a story. I tell my students that this year I don’t know if I will get to enjoy all of the tasty grilled foods I love. It’s so frustrating because I can’t find my grill tools. How sad! And just like that… I have buy-in!

My students usually start shouting out ways I can use other things to grill. So, with all of the excitement ready to go, they are going to invent new tools for me.

I present them with the Grillin’ and Chillin’ Challenge task cards. Each task card asks students to create a tool to help them grill on a BBQ. And. . . the tool must be able to pick up and flip the food.

The best thing about this challenge is I don’t have to go out and buy a lot of supplies! I can literally print out pictures of burgers and hotdogs! Then, I tape them to recyclable materials we already have in the classroom like toilet paper rolls, tissue boxes, etc.

For this challenge, I also let my students use the leftover recyclable materials we have on hand. This is great because each tool for each group will actually end up looking a little different.

You can bet your classroom will be filled with giggles when you finally put the tools to the test. Your students will love using their tools to try to pick up and flip the hamburgers and hotdogs! It’s the perfect end of the year STEM activity to get students excited for summer!

2. Diving Board STEM Activity

Hot summer months mean days at the pool. Pool time is a favorite summertime activity for almost every kid I have ever known. This Splish Splash Challenge is great because it combines the fun of a diving board with the physics of a catapult. How cool is that?

This end of the year STEM activity gets your students thinking about physics in a fun and simple way. They will be excited to “dive” right in.

For this hands-on building challenge, you will need just a few, easy-to-find materials. Items like:

  • popsicle sticks
  • plastic silverware
  • pom poms
  • rubber bands
  • plastic bucket
  • (optional) small figurines

are perfect! But you can also feel free to change it up a little with supplies you already have on hand.

I usually partner my students up for this challenge, but small groups also work well. Working together, each team must create a catapult using the supplies you give them. Then, when their catapult/diving board is ready, they will test it out by launching the pom poms into the bucket.

For even more of a challenge, consider getting different sizes of buckets, asking students to launch from varying distances, or having them launch small figurines. You can even put some water in the bucket for an extra splash of fun!

3. Pool Float End of the Year STEM Challenge

The next end of the year STEM challenge is all about relaxation. Your students will be creating a pool float perfect for a trip down a lazy river. The pool float must float on water and hold coins (aka passengers)!

Working through the design process, students will brainstorm ideas for their design, draw it out, test it, and then discuss with their group any improvements that need to be made. Next, it’s time to build. I let my students use a variety of materials like popsicle sticks, glue, paper…etc., but then we also always use tin foil to wrap around the bottom of the float. This keeps the water from soaking into the design and causing it to sink prematurely.

Sink or float day is always a huge hit in our classroom. Teams take turns putting their pool floats in a tub of water and we slowly add pennies or other coins one at a time. The whole class gets involved with counting and the tension and excitement always builds as more and more coins are added.

On the whiteboard, I ask one or two students to keep track of how many coins each pool float can hold. In the end, the group with the pool float that holds the most pennies will win a small prize. Consider something silly from the dollar store, like a toy boat that you spray paint gold. I promise it doesn’t have to be big or expensive for students to be excited about the prize!

4. Water Bottle Holder for Field Day

Our school has a field day every year when our students can all go outside and play fun outdoor games. Because it’s usually held at the end of May or the beginning of June, it’s super hot! That means water bottles are a must. And. . . I bet you can guess how many students lose their water bottles on this day!

So, when it’s time for our Quench Your Thirst STEM challenge, I start by asking my students to raise their hands if they have ever lost a water bottle. Chances are 99% of my class will raise their hands. Then I remind my students that field day is just around the corner and that means there will be lots and lots of water bottles around. I challenge my students to come up with an idea that will help students keep their water bottles on field day instead of losing them.

Starting with Brainstorming

Next, as a class, we brainstorm ways to prevent the loss of our water bottles on field day. This is our ideation stage and will be full of crazy and outlandish ideas. But during this step of the process, there are no bad ideas, so all ideas make it to the board!

If my classes are older, I will choose a few students to be in charge of writing down all the crazy and clever ideas on the whiteboard.

Next, it’s time to break up the class into small groups. Each group will discuss the ideas and then narrow it down to the one idea they like best. That’s the idea they will then build. Working together, the group will create a design for a new water bottle holder that is sure to withstand the tests of field day.

Using materials we already have on hand (basically anything from our recycling area) kiddos work together to build a prototype water bottle holder. I always love seeing the super creative ideas the students come up with.

And, my favorite part. . . the fashion show! My students love walking around to show off their design as they talk about why it will be the best water bottle holder ever!

5. Twist and Turn STEM Challenge

What’s summer without a trip to the amusement park? Being a STEM teacher, you better believe building a roller coaster track to prepare us for summer fun is one of my favorite STEM challenges.

I love this end of the year STEM challenge because it’s one your students can do inside or outside! If the weather is nice, take your kiddos out to the playground for this one! They will love using the playground equipment or natural environment for their rollercoasters!

I start by giving each group a Twist & Turn task card that says, “Create a roller coaster track. Create a track where the marble travels for the longest period of time, from its start to its finish. It must end in the cup.” Think of a Rube Goldberg track but with recyclable materials (of course) and one long track.

I like to give my students time to test out their tracks during the building phase of this challenge. Sometimes the best-laid tracks can have little hiccups so it’s a good idea for them to get in a few test runs before the big reveal.

When I do this activity outside, I always love seeing how my students use their creativity! I’ve had students build their tracks around trees, under playground equipment, and through obstacles. “Running the track” is always exciting! The whole class gets excited to cheer on each marble as it winds its way through the twists and turns.

6. Graduation Cap for End of the Year Celebrations

The end of the year brings out lots of graduation caps and gowns. From Kindergarten graduation to 6th-grade graduation to high school and college graduations, caps and gowns are everywhere in May and June!

I love this STEAM challenge because it also includes artistic thinking! And, you can partner with your classroom teachers to have your students create the graduation caps they will actually wear during their end of the year graduation ceremonies.

While the other STEM challenges listed above are great for small groups or partners, this activity is meant to be individual. This challenge allows each student to show their own personality through their designs!

Simple materials your students can use to create their graduation caps can include:

  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • string
  • tape
  • gems
  • confetti
  • pipe cleaners
  • markers
  • crayons
  • glitter

If you don’t do a formal graduation, hold a mock ceremony in your class so students can show off their creations. Parents love these adorable caps too! They make a great treasured keepsake to remember the elementary years.

End of the Year STEM Challenges Bundle!

All of these fun and exciting End of the Year STEM Challenges can be found in one convenient bundle! Be sure to grab your Summer STEM End of the Year Activities! You will have so many fun activities for your kids while you are counting your way down to summer break!

And. . . if you know that STEM activities like these have a special place in your classroom, then make sure to check-out the STEM for a Year Club. You get 65 STEM activities for less than $1.15 each. You will have everything you need for a full year of amazing STEM learning.

Save These End of the Year STEM Activities

Be sure to save these fun end of the year STEM activities to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can grab them when you need them!

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