Penny Passage Instant Challenge

Penny Passage STEAM Challenge

This week’s STEAM activity for kids is all about brainstorming and balance. Collect your pennies and see how your kids use their imagination and creativity for our Penny Passage challenge! If you don’t have coins, you can use items of similar size and weight, such as washers. Or, you can create your own “pennies” using clay or playdoh.

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, 30 pennies

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 to build your devices, what would you use?
  4. What other items can you transport with your devices?
  5. What did you like most about this challenge?

For more creative problem-solving activities like this, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you 5 free exclusive STEAM challenges! 

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