The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) is a non-profit organization that supports kids and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through its annual Punkin Chunkin contest. Each year, adult and youth teams will gather in Delaware for a competitive pumpkin launching event that inspires creativity, engineering, and innovation as the teams design and build contraptions to launch a pumpkin for distance. Challenge your own kids to design a Punkin Chunkin contraption with Wikki Stix! Through inquiry and solution-based learning, kids will discover if their own created pumpkin can go the distance!
Wikki Stix PUNKIN CHUNKIN STEM Challenge for Kids
The punkin chunkin challenge is designed for kids in 3rd-5th grades. The challenge can be completed indoors, but where possible, get the kids outside to demonstrate the launching capabilities of their designs!
Objective: Kids will use cross-disciplinary STEM skills to design and engineer a pumpkin launching contraption for distance using simple materials.
STEM Skills Presented:
Science: Kids will use skills within the scientific method to construct a pumpkin launching device using simple materials.
Technology: Kids will watch a video of a Punkin Chunkin event and use technology to document the planning and design phases of the challenge.
Engineering: Kids will design and engineer a simple pumpkin launching device using only the challenge materials.
Math: Kids will use geometric shapes, spatial and mathematical relationship skills, and measurement to complete the punkin chunkin design and launch.
What is PUNKIN CHUNKIN?
Show kids the pumpkin chunkin event video below for punkin chunkin inspiration!
Punkin Chunkin Challenge
- Green, Orange, Yellow Wikki Stix – 50 total per team/individual
- One challenge directions printable here (download Punkin Chunkin directions here) for each student or team
- One Cardboard Tube (TP roll size)
- 2 Straws (paper or plastic)
Kids should have access to a hole punch and scissors. The kids do not have to use ALL supplies, but no additional supplies will be given. Time limit is 25 minutes to plan and construct a Wikki Stix pumpkin and a contraption that will somehow launch the pumpkin for distance. This challenge can be completed individually or in teams. Each team (or individual) will be allowed 2 opportunities to launch the created pumpkin. The farthest distance for each team (or individual) will be recorded.
Invite the kids to take digital photos of the planning and design phases. Photos are a great way to document learning, but in viewing the photos after the challenge, kids will gain valuable insights into the successes and failures of their constructed designs.
After the kids have finished the designs, go outside to test them out! Kids can use a tape measure or yard stick to measure and record the total distances all pumpkins travel from the launching devices.
Wikki Stix Slingshot Punkin Chunkin Device
The slingshot device above was designed by a 4th grade team. The kids constructed an orange pumpkin from Wikki Stix and a slingshot design for punkin chunkin. The team predicted that the pumpkin would deploy from the pouch using an underhand launch method. The design of the slingshot was genius, but the original orange pumpkin was too large and heavy to stay in the cardboard pouch. The girls went back to redesign the pumpkin. The smaller created pumpkin fit nicely into the pouch and traveled the farthest distance on the 2nd try!
Wikki Stix Push-Pop Pumpkin Launcher
A 3rd grader individually constructed the Wikki Stix push-pop pumpkin launcher! In true push-pop fashion, the student used a straw to propel a created green Wikki Stix pumpkin out of the cut cardboard tube. The pumpkin traveled the farthest distance on the very first try!
Wrap Up: PUNKIN CHUNKIN Challenge Response
Print the Punkin Chunkin Challenge response questions here (download the Response Sheet pdf here) for each student. Come together and invite the kids to share how they would change their design next time or what difficulties they experienced in the design and engineering phase.
By offering STEM challenges to kids, they will gain valuable problem solving tools that can be applied to problems encountered in their everyday world. The punkin chunkin challenge is just one of many STEM/STEAM challenges available here at Wikki Stix! For more ways to encourage inquiry and problem solving skills, please see the free lesson plans below!