teaching resource

Playdough STEM Challenge – Task Cards

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 12 pages | Grades: K - 3

Use this set of STEM challenge cards to foster critical thinking and problem-solving by building various items with playdough.

Back to School STEM Activity

Are you looking for a hands-on back-to-school activity? Look no further! This back-to-school STEM task card set is a great way to ease your students into a new school year. Students will be challenged to use playdough to build different objects such as a toy, something they see at the aquarium, or something they like to play with outside. Classmates will have fun guessing each other’s objects after they are finished!

For this activity, students will use playdough to design and build different objects. You can choose to give each student one can of playdough or several; the choice is yours! This resource also includes a planning and reflection sheet for students to use.

Through this activity, students will complete a set of STEM challenges to foster critical thinking and problem-solving by building various items. 

Tips for Differentiation + Scaffolding 

A team of dedicated, experienced educators created this resource to support your back-to-school lessons.

In addition to individual student work time, use this STEM activity to enhance learning through guided small groups, whole class lessons, or remote learning assignments. 

If you have a mixture of above and below-level learners, check out these suggestions for keeping students on track with the concepts: 

🆘 Support Struggling Students

For students who need additional support, consider having two or three students work together.

➕ Challenge Fast Finishers

If there are students who need a bit of a challenge, encourage them to create the same items but with different materials from the classroom.

🛴 Scoot Activity 

Place the cards around the room and give each student a can of playdough. Assign students or pairs to a starting point card. Give students time to review the card and build their object. Students will rotate to the next card when you say, “SCOOT!” Continue in this manner until students return to their starting point. 

Plan lessons for all ability levels with our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies! 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the color PDF, black and white PDF, or editable Google Slides version of this resource. 

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

To keep the task cards out of pockets or under desks, punch a hole in the corner of each to place them on a binder ring. 

Sustainability Tip: Print a few recording sheets on cardstock and slip them into dry-erase sleeves. Students can record their answers with a whiteboard marker, then erase and reuse them.  


This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and Teach Starter Collaborator. 

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