Earth Day STEM Challenge

We may have been finishing up April Vacation on the actual Earth Day, but when we returned to school I took the opportunity to celebrate this important day with my students.

Students watched a few short video clips about Earth Day, did quick writes and completed a mystery picture math page, but the big Earth Day project was a STEM lesson in the STEM Lab.

With Antoni Gaudi as my inspiration, I tied in recycling old things to make something new in a way that connected to students. After learning a bit about Gaudi and his artwork, which recycled many broken or discarded pottery pieces to make works of art, they were off and running to take recycled plastic water bottles and upcycle them into custom pencil holders for their desk.

Students did a great job taking the materials provided and creating their own pencil holders. With the three criteria in mind: holds at least 5 pencils, stands up, is bright and colorful, students were off and running once they had planned and came up with ideas.


Besides coming up with great ideas, students cooperated beautifully, helping one another out when they were stuck or didn’t know what to do next. Even though each student was in charge of making their own pencil holder they were there to lend a helping hand if a student was struggling with a part of their process.

Students worked for about 45 minutes, following all steps of the process. They planned, created, tested and made changes as needed. They began recording their results and will finish up recording tomorrow morning.


The end results were colorful and varied in design. Students had really thought about what Gaudi had done, taking recycled goods to make his creations, as inspiration for their own creations.

IMG_9106              IMG_9102

If you think this sounds like a STEM lesson your own class would create you can grab it by clicking here. This will bring you to my TpT page where you can find this STEM lesson along with other travel inspired lessons.




You may also like