I'm teaching first grade this year! I'm also leading a STEM club after school for students in grades K-2. I have about 18 students. For our first week of STEM club, the kids made ramps using various boards and toy cars.
Here were some of the concepts we covered: (I got inspiration from Little Bins for Little Hands.)
I then introduced the challenge...
Challenge: You and a partner are Nascar mechanics. It’s up to you to make your car go as fast and as far as you can. First find your car, then make your track. You must make your track at least 10 feet long, using the pre-measured string.
I think the kids had a lot of fun. As expected, we encountered some hiccups though! We ran out of time, for one. I learned that this age group needs more time to explore with materials.
They felt the sting of failure more than once when their ramps didn't stay together or their car went off of the track. In the future, I would say that the ramp does not need parameters, especially if there is a limited amount of time. It was good that they all had a partner, though that also made for some unique learning opportunities for learning how to communicate with each other.