STEM for Kids: Design a Paper Plate Pinball Game
Materials for Paper Plate Pinball Challenge
Paper plates (The ones with high edges work best.)
Directions for Paper Plate Pinball Challenge
Watch some pinball machine YouTube for those students who are not familiar with pinball machines. Notice the different ramps, bumpers, and other pinball machine parts.
1. Provide each child with one paper plate and access to various craft supplies. Demonstrated how to create some simple arches using strips of construction paper.
2. Let the kids get busy creating and testing out their pinball machines with marbles.
Mystery Bag STEM Design Challenge
Materials for Mystery Bag Challenge
- One bag per student (We used gift bags like these, but you could also use lunch bags, grocery bags, or even large baggies.)
- Various kinds of recyclables (cardboard tubes, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum foil etc.)
- A variety of other materials (paper plates, plastic cups, string, yarn, pipe cleaners etc.)
- Mystery Bag Challenge Cards (located in the box at bottom left of this page)
- Optional: Mystery Bag Labels (located in the box at bottom left of this page)
How to Set Up Your Mystery Bags
1. Each student will need one bag. (You can leave the bags blank or attach the free Mystery Bag Design Labels to the front of each bag.)
2. Place about 8-12 items into each bag. You’ll want to be sure the items are varied. Each bag should contain at least one larger item that can serve as a base for the design, and then an assortment of smaller items. We also made sure no two bags were filled with exactly the same items. That added a level of excitement to the activity. The kids loved seeing which “mystery” materials everyone got in their bags!
3. You can use any materials you have on hand- be creative! Lucy and I saved up recyclables for a few weeks: egg cartons, cardboard boxes that we cut up, plastic containers, plastic lids, empty paper towel rolls etc. We also used small sheets of paper that students would be able to cut up and use, small paper plates, plastic cups, random craft materials like popsicle sticks, straws, buttons, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, string, yarn etc.
Taking Part in the Mystery Bag Challenge
1. Print out the free mystery bag challenge cards. Cut them apart.
2. Give each child a mystery bag (already filled with the mystery items).
3. Give each child a challenge card.
5. Children complete the challenge on the card using only the materials in their mystery bag.
6. When they are finished, ask them about their design or invite them to share their design with each other.
Tips and Other Ideas
- The last page of the free challenge cards set is blank and editable. You can type in your own challenges for your students or print out the blank page and invite your students to come up with and write their own challenges for their peers.