Cooperative Learning STEM Activity: Build a Fort Around a Penguin

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Brrrrrr – shake off your tail feathers and let’s learn about penguins in this cooperative learning exercise! Penguins are a popular winter theme because they are not Christmas related and provide valuable (and cute!) learning lessons for kids.

You can shop for up all of these winter lesson plan supplies at Oriental Trading!

This winter STEM activity requires your students to work together and build a fort around their penguin WITHOUT touching the penguin! You can also build an igloo out of gallon jugs too! Check out our winter lesson plan below.

Thanks to Oriental Trading who sent us the materials for this post!

penguin fort stem activity

Lesson Plan Objectives:

This cooperative learning exercise requires students to work as a team to create a fort around their penguins with the materials provided. The fort:

  1. Must NOT touch the penguin.
  2. Must completely enclose over the top of the penguin.

This penguin themed winter STEM activity can be compared to the colony of penguins that must rely on each other for survival.

Materials Needed:

toy penguin craft sticks STEM activity

100 Craft Sticks per group
Penguin toy
optional – “block of ice putty

Build a Fort Lesson Plan Instructions:

penguin in craft stick fort

Divide your students up into small teams of 2-4 and hand them each a pile of craft sticks and a penguin toy. We used penguin racers from Oriental Trading but you can use penguin finger puppets or other penguin toys for this challenge.

craft stick fort with roof

Each team will need to build a completely enclosed fort that does NOT touch their penguin with only the craft sticks provided. There must be a top on their fort and their penguin toy must be inside the fort. This provides a great 10 minute activity challenge to fill in the end of a class period.

Further Discussion:

Penguins live in colonies together and rely on each other for survival, much like this team building exercise requires work from every team member in their group to successfully meet the STEM activity. It is a cooperative learning project that directly ties into the survival of a penguin colony.

Extend learning lessons covering a penguin’s habitat, different species of penguins, and other key features that penguins depend on for survival.

craft stick STEM activity build a fort

Math Topics Covered: 

  • engineering
  • temperature

Science Topics Covered:

  • habitats
  • climates
  • animal species
  • groupings

Geography Topics Covered:

  • various regions penguins live
  • icebergs / glaciers

Order your supplies from Oriental Trading here!

MORE Penguin Themed Activities:

Make Your Own Winter Penguin Wine Cork Craft TutorialPenguins Nesting Doll Craft Tutorial
winter penguin advent calendar

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