Engaging Holiday STEM Lessons That Integrate ELA


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the holiday season’s right on the horizon. But, before you write your lesson plans in ink, we’re here to tell you this: handprint turkeys and popcorn necklaces aren’t the only craftivities that you can make with your class this year. In fact, the following STEM lessons also integrate reading and writing so you can maximize the learning and holiday spirit in your (traditional or virtual) classrooms this season! 

The Mayflower 5-Day STEM Lesson 

The Mayflower 5-Day STEM Lesson

Looking for a last-minute mini-unit for the week of Thanksgiving? This lesson plan is geared toward upper elementary learners and can be stretched across five days.

What we love most about this mini-unit:
  • It comes in both digital and print formats.
  • It incorporates a nonfiction text that’s perfect for teaching about the first Thanksgiving.
  • It fuels students’ creativity, allowing them to create a plan to design and construct their very own Mayflower ship.
  • Students apply the scientific method to test whether their ships rise to the challenge, placing them in water basins to see if they’ll sink or float.
  • Students record their thinking, observations, and the results of their experiments in their project journals, which gives them plenty of opportunities to improve their ship designs if they’re sinkers!
The Mayflower 5-Day STEM Lesson

Snowflake Science 5-Day STEM Lesson

Snowflake Science 5-Day STEM Lesson

There’s a chill in the air, and it’ll soon become chillier. Think: frosty noses and cheeks blushing red. Why not get in the winter mood and introduce students to Snowflake Science with this five-day STEM activity designed with upper elementary kids in mind?

What we love most about this mini-unit:
  • It comes in both digital and print formats.
  • It begins with a fabulous winter-themed nonfiction mentor textThe Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder, by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson, Ph.D.
  • Students apply science and math skills to investigate how snowflakes form, study domain-specific science vocab, sketch the lines of symmetry in a snowflake, and later use household materials to create actual snowflakes!
  • Students record and revise their thinking in their project journals, observing and measuring their snowflakes and drawing conclusions based on their findings.
Snowflake Science 5 Day STEM Lesson

Gingerbread House 5-Day PBL Lesson

Gingerbread House STEM Lesson

Imagine taking all the subjects and rolling them up into a single project that keeps your elementary students talking about all the fun they had even after school is out for winter break. This anything-but-traditional five-day Gingerbread House STEM lesson will do just that. When hearing “Gingerbread House,” you might be thinking sticky icing, cookie walls, and gumdrops, and, well, while you’re not wrong, there’s more to this lesson.

What we love most about this mini-unit:
  • It comes in both digital and print formats.
  • Students read two nonfiction texts, one about the history of gingerbread houses and one about circuits.
  • Students conduct research on paper circuits and design a model house that they’ll soon construct.
  • In their project journals, they make a list of materials, jot down observations after testing their designs, and reflect on their success.

Cupid 5-Day STEM Lesson: Simple Machines

Cupid 5-Day STEM Lesson

This STEM activity is one that is designed with love, and perfect for Valentines’ Day. While just thinking about simple machines might not evoke warm and fuzzy feelings, this five-day mini-lesson may surprise you.

What we love most about this mini-unit:
  • It comes in both digital and print formats.
  • Students investigate simple machines whole studying domain-specific science vocabulary and getting familiar with keywords like wedge, pulley, and axel.
  • Students brainstorm ideas for creating their very own simple machine to–get this–deliver Valentines!
  • Students apply the scientific method throughout the week while planning, designing, and testing their Valentine delivery machines.
  • After they complete this holiday challenge, students then wrap up by reflecting on their successes in their project journals. THAT’S Amore

Gotta get ’em all? Purchase the Seasonal Bundle that includes all four holiday STEM activities here


April Smith

Curriculum Writer and Online Professional Development Coach. 


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