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Penny Passage Instant Challenge

By: Tina Shaffer

Have a jar of coins in your house? Dig out those pennies because you’re gonna need them for our STEAM challenge of the week, Penny Passage! For this challenge, kids will build one or more devices that can transport pennies to containers of different sizes. They’ll have seven minutes to complete the challenge. When they’re done, have them reflect on the process using our Reflection Questions below.

Challenge: Using the materials below, build one or more devices that can transport pennies to containers of different sizes.

Setup & Rules: Place 1 bowl, 1 small empty can, and 1 cardboard tube 2 feet apart from each other (horizontally) on the floor. You may tape the cardboard tube to the floor.

Place a 6-foot piece of masking tape 30 inches away from the containers. (See setup image below.)

Using their hand-made device(s), kids must transport the pennies to the containers without any part of their bodies crossing the line on the floor.

Materials for Setup: 1 bowl, 1 small empty can, 1 cardboard tube, masking tape
Materials for Device: 1 spoon (wooden, metal or plastic), 1 sheet of newspaper, 1 yardstick (or broom if you don’t have a yardstick), 1 paper or plastic cup, 1 sheet of paper, 1 12”x12” piece of tin foil, 2 chenille stems, 10 inches of masking tape

Time: 7 minutes to build your device(s) and transport the pennies

Scoring:
A. 2 points for each penny you successfully transport to the bowl
B. 3 points for each penny you successfully transport to the can
C. 5 points for each penny you successfully transport to the cardboard tube
D. 10 points if you have at least 5 pennies in each container
E. 10 points if you do not use the cup
F. Up to 20 points for the creativity of your device(s)
G. Up to 20 points for how well your group works together

Reflection Questions:

  1. What was the most challenging part of this activity?
  2. Which materials worked best for transporting the pennies to each container?
  3. If you could use other types of materials, what would you use?
  4. What did you like most about this challenge?

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