Valentine’s Day is on the way! It’s the season of sharing our love with others (which is year round really, but you get the image I’m creating here right?!), and what do I love? SCIENCE! So, here are some fun STEM challenges to share with the ones you love this season. Cupid has been working hard and needs your help!
Challenge 1: Flying Cupid Balloon Rockets
Help! Cupid bruised his wing during target practice and has to rest the wing until it is healed, but Valentine’s Day is just days away! Build a rocket that will propel Cupid towards the heart of his targeted lovebirds. Cupid needs to make sure he is quick and always a perfect shot!
Balloon Rockets are an always-engaging way to teach force, motion, pressure, thrust and Newton’s 3rd Law… and even if you don’t dive into those concepts, your kids are going to love this one (my 3 and 6 year olds didn’t want to stop)!
- Straws (straight, not bendy)
- Cupid cutouts (found in my resource)
- Heart-shaped target (also found in my resource)
- Conversation heart candy (for snacking)
Set up by taping your target to a wall, then take a length of string about 3-4 meters long and tape one end right above the picture.
Next, prep your cutie-pie Cupid! Add a layer of glue to the back (glue stick works best), then fold down the center where the two arrows meet.
Cut out Cupid! The next part gets a little tricky so you might need a little helper or partner to hop in.
Start by threading your straw onto the string. Then, blow up your balloon and hold the opening away from your target (pinch the balloon closed). Tape Cupid so he is hanging from the balloon, his arrow pointing toward the target.
Finally, tape the balloon to the straw. When you’re ready, release the balloon and watch Cupid FLY! Wherever his arrow hits the target is how many points your rack up. The balloons last for quite a few attempts, but can be switched out when then they seem to be stretched out.
Turn this into a fun design challenge using the recording sheets in the resource pack available in my TpT store.
Challenge 2: Cupid’s Broken Arrow
HELP! Cupid broke his bow during target practice and needs a new one before Valentine’s Day! Build a bow and arrow that will consistently hit his lovebirds in the center of their heart. Cupid needs to make sure his arrows are always a perfect shot! Although I did make one of these with my little, I completely forgot to take pictures (stand by… I’ll add some when my class completes the challenge)
- Plastic Hangers
- String or Yarn
- Rubber bands
- Kebob skewers
- Coffee Stirrers
- Construction Paper
- Engineering design sheet (found in this resource)
- Heart-shaped target (found in this resource)
This project is great for testing the engineering design process because the likeliness is that the kiddos won’t get it just right on the first attempt. As they say, FAILure is one’s First Attempt In Learning. As an engineer, failure is expected and is to be thought of as a discovery of what didn’t work to propel us towards what will work. Although those first attempts can be frustrating, foster the desire to follow through and try again… this is the characteristic of a true engineer!
Have students research how bow and arrows work, what makes them strong, and what needs to happen for them to accurate. Students should watch videos, read articles, and work with their available supplies to determine what will make the sturdiest bow and arrow for Cupid. Here are a few sites that will get you thinking about the basic components of the bow and arrow:
When the students are ready to test their designs, set up the target. Their goal is for the arrow to hit right in the middle of the heart-shaped target. Have the students start their tests fairly close to the target, then step further and further away to see how far away they can shoot from with accuracy.