STEM Challenge: Signs of Life!

Signs of Life!

Hook, Challenge, and Constraints


Mars — our closest planetary neighbor. For thousands of years, astronomers have dreamt of reaching the “red planet,” but never have been able to… until now. NASA is working on getting a crew ready to make the treacherous journey, but they’ll need our help to escape Earth’s gravity, survive the vacuum of space, and adapt to the hostile Martian atmosphere.

I’m Special Agent L, the head of Imagineerz. NASA will undoubtedly encounter a lot of problems on the way to Mars.That’s where we come in! At Imagineerz, we’re all about solving problems. We use specialized, state-of-the-art, problem-solving techniques to overcome any obstacle. We’re currently recruiting new agents, and you have have been chosen. Congratulations agents, and welcome to Imagineerz! With your help, we will aid NASA in making the trek across the solar system to Mars.

Challenge and Constraints

Our first challenge comes from the leader of the mission, Captain Smith. We need to build epic, crazy, never-before-seen aliens so that his crew can get comfortable being around aliens. Captain Smith has requested that our aliens be able to stand on their own legs, which should be thinner than two fingers each.


You may also provide these optional materials: cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, Dixie cups, and aluminum foil.


  • Materials: Students can use no more than five of any one material per creation! For example, a student can use five straws and five pieces of paper, but not ten straws. If you provide aluminum foil, no more than one arm’s length piece for each student!
  • Groups: Students can work with a partner or on their own. No groups of three!
  • Time to Build: 45 minutes