Last year my students finished their end of unit presentations two days before winter break. Rather then start a new unit, I wanted to give them an engineering challenge that reinforced circuits, a concept that we were having difficulty with in class fully understanding.
Looking through ideas online and given that it was the holiday season, I quickly decided on presenting them with a challenge where they had to build a gingerbread house and wire it with LED lights.
With that, I was off to the $1 store to stock up on supplies.
The project was a two day challenge with two different difficulty levels. The base challenge was to build a one floor structure with at least three lights. For the difficult or "extra spicy" challenge the house had to be two floors and/or have at least 10 lights. Students were able to decided with their group on which level challenge they wanted to attempt, and I was surprised out how many students decided to go for the more difficult challenge.
I was amazed at the level of detail students put in. One group created a dance party using Swedish Fish as people and another group put stairs and bedroom complete with beds in their design.
All-in-all the project was a huge success. Both days I had students coming to my room with passes from their other teachers so they could keep adding on to their houses. It says a lot when students decide to work on a STEM challenge when they could be watching a movie or hanging with their friends on the last day before break. Check out some of the finished products below and assembly photos below.