You don’t have to have a complicated supply list for an engineering challenge. Nor, do you have to create something something spectacular and life-changing. Simple is best.
Kids learn from taking items from their everyday life and using them in new ways to do simple things. It helps them understand the world around them and how things work.
For this engineering challenge, give each of your students a sheet of foil and a few drinking straws. Their challenge is to create a foil boat that is no larger than 6 X 6 X 6. The boats have to float and not tip over easily. After the boats pass the float and tip tests on the water, start adding pennies (you can use marbles, too). The boat that holds the most pennies without tipping over or taking on water wins the challenge.
When doing this and other engineering challenges, don’t worry if your students create something that doesn’t look like a typical boat or whatever else the challenge is about. The idea isn’t to re-create something familiar. The idea is to think and problem solve. New ways of doing things are great!