When coming up with creative and fun STEM challenges for kids, you don’t have to look further than your closet at school for materials. All that is needed to create a mind-stimulating maze is a paper plate, construction paper, glue, scissors, and a marble. Kids today may not have any experience playing with pinball machines but after some simple instructions, they’ll be pros at paper plate pinball!
Here’s what needs to be done to make this project successful:
- Acquire all of the supplies needed for each student. If you don’t have these items on hand, see if any parents want to donate them. They may have a huge supply of paper plates leftover from their last barbecue and not know what to do with them. That’s great news for you as it ensures you have the supplies you need to carry out this project without a hitch.
- Demonstrate how to create simple arches and bumpers using construction paper. Create a sample paper plate pinball machine that can be used to demonstrate the process. You may want to experiment with different types of arches, bumpers, and obstacles so your students know what options await them.
- Assist your students in cutting out paper strips and adhering them to the plates. Depending on how late in the day you teach this STEM project determines whether the glue will be dry in time to try out the pinball machines. You may have to extend the project into a two-day time period to ensure that all arches and bumpers are secure on the plates.
- Have fun ‘scoring’ points with the marbles. Let your students explore their games by tilting them to try to get the marble into the proper slot. If your students wrote out scores for the different areas of the game, have them keep track of theirs so they can share it with the class later.
This STEM activity is easy to do. It requires little effort to execute and teaches students in a truly memorable way. It’s one way to incorporate fun and science in the classroom.