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The Water Race STEM Challenge: Force and Motion
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  • Ages 7-910-12
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This outdoor STEM challenge gets students working as a team as they explore your forces and motion topic, with a focus on gravity. They will be set the challenge to transport water from a bucket at the top of a hill / set of stairs to the buckets at bottom using only a bucket and length of hose.

Once they’ve completed the activity they can fill in the evaluation sheet which gets them to think about the effectiveness of their method as well as how they worked together as a team.

Set Up:

This activity works best in teams of 3 or 4. For each team you need 3 buckets and a length of clean hose. Find a hill (or set of stairs (however space can be an issue here) and place one bucket full of water at the top and another at the bottom for each team.

The students can not touch either of these buckets. Their challenge is to transport the water from the bucket at the top to the bucket at the bottom without touching either of the buckets. They must only use the third bucket and the hose to transport the water. You will see lots of weird and wonderful ways that the students come up with to do this.

The idea is for the students to develop a siphon by placing one end of the hose in the water and the other in the empty bucket, sucking until the water reaches the high point in the hose, and then letting gravity do the rest. If by the end of the activity the students have not used this method to transport the water, show it to them and encourage a discussion as to why it works.

Resources Needed Per Team:

- 3 buckets of the same size

- Hose (1 - 2 meters long)

To make things more interesting you could also add more objects they can use that won’t be as effective, such as a sponge.

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