Are you a fan of gumdrops? I don’t love sticky candies in general, so it’s a no for eating gumdrops for me. But as far as using them in STEM challenges? Yes, please!
If your kids have tried building 3D structures with marshmallows and toothpicks before, they might have had some difficulting keeping the pieces together. Gumdrops are a lot denser than marshmallows, and therefore you are able to build taller structures with them without them collapsing.
This gumdrop Christmas tree challenge asks your kids to explore just how tall they can build a Christmas tree from just gumdrops and toothpicks. This challenge requires kids to use only the materials provided, the tree must be free-standing, and the end product must have some semblance to a Christmas tree.
Let’s get building!
Gumdrop and Toothpick STEM Challenge
- Measuring tape or ruler
- Free printable worksheet (download form located at the end of this post)
1. Gather the materials. We picked out green and red gumdrops so the structure will look more like a Christmas tree.
2. Draw your design for the gumdrop Christmas tree on the free worksheet.
3. Start building the gumdrop Christmas tree.
4. Measure your tree 3 times during construction. This is to make sure that we get the tallest height of the gumdrop Christmas tree in the case that it collapses unexpectedly.
5. Record the height of your tree on the worksheet.
The kids had so much fun building the gumdrop Christmas tree. Overall, I find STEM challenges like this one where there are no directions and they are free to use their creativity to build whatever they want the best ones.
We decided to go with a hexagon base with a gumdrop in the middle to keep the structure steady. Then we made a smaller hexagon by placing a gumdrop in between the two gumdrops at the base with 2 toothpicks.
The kids saw how unstable the red gumdrops were, so we stuck more toothpicks connecting them so that they are more sturdy.
Then we repeated the same process for the next layer up. It wasn’t the most stable layer, but the gumdrops were close enough at this point that they could lean on each other without the support of toothpicks in between them.
Finally, we finished off our tree with one gumdrop on the very top!
What did your kid’s gumdrop Christmas tree look like? I would love to see it! Please tag me @mombrite on Instagram or on Facebook if you post a picture of it!
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