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STEM Activity Spotlight: Thanksgiving

By Angel Bhandari


Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with family and friends to express gratitude and enjoy a feast. It is also an excellent opportunity to engage in fun and educational STEM activities that align with the festive theme.


1. Cranberry Structures:

Materials: Cranberries, toothpicks, optional: additional fruits or marshmallows as building materials.

Age Group: Grades K-5

STEM Connection: This activity promotes critical thinking, engineering, and geometry. Students can use cranberries and toothpicks to construct structures, such as bridges.


2. Exploding Corn:

Materials: Dried corn kernels, microwave-safe container with lid, microwave oven.

Age Group: Grades 5-9

STEM Connection: This activity explores the science behind popcorn popping. Through concepts of heat transfer, pressure, and moisture changes during the popping process.


3. Pumpkin Catapult:

Materials: Small pumpkins (or any round objects like apples or small balls), craft sticks, rubber bands, spoons, and tape.

Age Group: Grades 6-12

STEM Connection: The pumpkin catapult activity combines physics and engineering concepts. Students will investigate how different factors, such as the angle and force applied, influence the distance the pumpkin travels.


These Thanksgiving-themed STEM activities offer engaging and educational experiences for families to explore during the holiday season. From cranberry structures that promote creativity and engineering skills to the science behind exploding corn and the physics of pumpkin catapults, these activities incorporate STEM lessons in a fun and accessible way.


Works Cited

“From Sauce to Solid: The Science of Cranberry Condiments | Science Project.” Science

Buddies, www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-

ideas/FoodSci_p061/cooking-food-science/cranberry-sauce.

“STEM Curriculum for K-12 - TeachEngineering.” Teachengineering.org, 2019,

www.teachengineering.org/.

“Steve Spangler Science.” Steve Spangler Science, 2017, www.stevespanglerscience.com.



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