5th Grade

25 Quick and Easy Fifth Grade STEM Challenges (Free Printable!)

Give them a few simple supplies and watch their minds grow.

5th Grade STEM Challenges of printable cut-out note cards.

STEM challenges let kids use what they know to create something cool! Kids apply what they’ve learned about physics, chemistry, engineering, and more when they tackle these creative prompts. Many of these fifth grade STEM challenges add new twists to classic tasks, making them perfect for kids who are ready to think outside the box. Try these in groups to encourage teamwork and joint problem-solving skills too.

These ideas are super easy to set up. The supplies are simple and inexpensive (think wood craft sticks, plastic drinking straws, newspaper, or cardboard). All you need to do is post one of these STEM challenges on your whiteboard or projector screen. Then hand out the supplies and let kids take it from there! It also works for distance learning if students have these materials on hand at home.

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25 Fifth Grade STEM Challenges

  1. Design a floating raft that holds the most pennies, using plastic straws and string.
    5th Grade STEM Challenges

  2. Build the tallest possible tower using the fewest number of toothpicks and gum drops.

  3. Construct a catapult from wood craft sticks and rubber bands that can accurately launch a marshmallow through a hoop.

  4. Engineer a structure to support the most weight (measured in books) using clothespins and wood craft sticks.

  5. Build the tallest possible tower that supports the weight of a book using only 10 index cards. You can bend or tear the cards however you like, but you cannot use scissors, glue, or other tools.

  6. Use paper plates, cardboard tubes, and masking tape to construct a marble roller coaster. You can cut the plates and tubes as needed.

  7. Make a working jump rope from two plastic grocery store bags and 12 inches of duct tape.

  8. Fold a single sheet of paper into a cup that will hold water for at least 30 seconds without leaking.

  9. Use one box of paper clips to create a chain that can hold the most weight.

  10. Create a bubble solution recipe from water, dish detergent, and glycerin (or corn syrup) that makes the longest lasting bubbles.

  11. Build a domino chain reaction that spells the name of one of the members of your group.

  12. Stack plastic cups into the tallest tower you can in 1 minute.

  13. Build a free-standing ring of Pringles chips.

  14. Design a paper airplane that can hold the most cargo (coins taped to the plane). The plane must fly at least 8 feet.

  15. Use newspapers and masking tape to design a device that would keep all the members of your group dry in a rainstorm.

  16. Construct a device to carry a plastic cup full of water from the top of a 5-foot tall zip line to the bottom while spilling the least amount of water.

  17. Come up with three ways to get a toy car to move without directly touching it with any part of your body.

  18. Build a bridge that is 12 inches long using drinking straws and masking tape. The strength of your bridge will be measured using pennies in a paper cup.

  19. Use newspaper and scotch tape to design a stylish shoe that you can put on and take off of a team member’s foot.

  20. Draw a maze on the outside of a plastic bottle. Then drop a paperclip into the bottle and use a magnet to move the paperclip through the maze.

  21. Create a musical instrument using supplies like index cards, paper clips, tape, rubber bands, plastic straws, etc.

  22. Build a house with at least two rooms using wood craft sticks and glue.

  23. Design a new paperclip style that holds at least 10 sheets of paper without damaging them.

  24. Use plastic straws and pipe cleaners to build a geodesic dome or sphere.

  25. Design and create a set of building blocks using cardboard, masking tape, and scissors. Build a cool structure to show off your creation.

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Love these fifth grade STEM challenges? Try some Fifth Grade Science Projects That Will Blow Your Students’ Minds.

Plus, 48 Terrific Science Supplies to Help Students Learn About the World Around Them.