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Simple STEM activities to do at home: padlock challenge

Published: Apr 20, 2020 2 min read

STEM learning

I have quite a few friends across the country who are trying to entertain and educate their kids at home while at the same time keep them safe and happy. I wanted to help them but I wanted to create something a bit different, and a bit of a surprise. So I sent each of them a bag of sweet treats… but to eat them they first had to do some work. Some STEM work!

Padlock challenge

I designed a set of STEM-related questions, three questions per challenge sheet, which if answered correctly would give my young friends three single numbers. These numbers would give them the code to the padlock hanging on the paper bag containing the treats.

Now obviously there was one huge flaw in my plan – the bags are made of paper so my young pals could quite easily just rip the paper bags, but I’m delighted to say none of them did. In fact, a number of my friends reported back that not only did their kids do the questions, they actually worked together to do them!

Try it yourself

Having been tested by nine of my young friends (between the ages of 7 and 11), I offer these activities out to you to have a go yourselves.

Setting up the activity

Watch this video to see what equipment is needed and how to set up the bag and padlock.

The challenge

The two challenge sheets can be downloaded below, along with the answers:

We’d love to know how you (and your kids) got on with this activity, so please do share your experiences with us either in the comments or on social media by tagging @STEMLearningUK in your posts.

There will probably be a few more challenge sheets devised while we’re in lockdown, and maybe after, so make sure to check back for updates.