Quadrilateral STEM Challenge

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We are nearing the end of our quadrilateral unit, and will soon be moving on to 3D shapes. To close this unit up, we finished with a STEM project and an interactive assessment. (Look for this freebie coming toward the end of the week!!)

If you are just joining us, take a quick look at some of the activities we have done leading up to this challenge.

My boys always get very enthusiastic when they know a building challenge is coming, and today was no different. The excitement was contagious as we sat down at the table and I asked them to build 2D shapes of the 6 shapes we have been studying. They had their interactive notebook out and used this as a visual, but their shapes came together quickly.



When this was complete, I issued them their real challenge. Build a structure that has all six shapes in it.

N (my six year old) went right to work. He began trying to connect the shapes he had already made. I knew he was trying to make the base of his structure have all the shapes and then he would build up once he had that part done. C (my four year old) played around for a little bit, but I could tell he was getting frustrated with his lack of success. I sat down with him, and we worked together to build his structure. We actually used the shapes he had already made and added them to our growing tower. I asked a lot of questions about the shapes and how they looked, and how could we get that shape in next. With this type of interaction, we were successfully able to build a structure…though the leaning tower may be a more adequate name for it.



At this point, I could tell the N wasn’t having much success either. Many of his shapes were connected, and they were in a little bit of disarray. I decided to just start fresh, and this worked much better. We built a kite, and then added a trapezoid on both sides of the kite to support it. With the bottom created, N’s creativity took over. He quickly told me where he thought the rhombus could go, and then added his rectangle and square. His structure turned out great…nice and strong.


While I was working with N, I allowed C to paint the lines of the different shapes he had created. It kept him occupied, but also had him finding and recognizing the 6 shapes I want him to know by the end of the unit.

Once both boys finished, we completed the challenge printable. It was interesting to watch them count the shapes they had made. There were numerous triangles all throughout their structures, and we were finding squares inside rectangles, and small trapezoids inside large trapezoids. My goal for my four year old was to recognize all 6 shapes easily, and this was another great way for him to get in the little extra practice he tends to need. I also loved how N was seeing that there were three triangles in a trapezoid. This background knowledge is going to be helpful when we start playing with fractions and pattern blocks in the next week or two.

Overall this was quite a challenge for my little ones, but they learned so much. They also had a blast showing off their structures to anyone who came by the house. Oh and you bet I made them show our guests (probably to their annoyance, though everyone was nice abut it) all the quadrilaterals they had added. Just one more opportunity to get some practice in, right?

Enjoy your time of creating. You’ve Got This

Download your FREE printable HERE, and make sure you have the following supplies…

You can purchase all five quadrilaterals lessons, plus three cut and paste printables not on my blog, here!

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