STEM Tale - The Ugly Duckling Fairy Tale STEM Activity - momgineer

STEM Tale - The Ugly Duckling Fairy Tale STEM Activity

Fairy Tale STEM Activity for The Ugly Duckling

The swan has found out that he is not an ugly duckling. While this is a happy revelation, he realizes he needs to be with his swan family. The ducklings can help, but there are some obstacles they must overcome.

Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity

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  • printable or rubber ducks (these are the ones pictured in the images in this post)
  • paper, cardboard tubes, craft feathers

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale

STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first or do your own storytelling. Discuss the similarities and differences as you read through the story. To get started, you need ducklings. Use rubber ducks or the printable figures I have created (find the resource at the end of this post):

Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. What is the problem that needs to be solved in the Ugly Duckling STEM Tale? In this story, the swan must travel through areas filled with predators to get back to his mother. The ducklings will go with the swan to make sure he gets back to his mother safely, but they must camouflage themselves so they won't get eaten.
Your students will read the story and draw their ideas in the booklet.

Design a Duckling Disguise

After brainstorming ideas, the students will then choose one to create. Will the duckling be camouflaged as another animal or blend into its surroundings?

Follow up with a Mapping Extension

Whenever possible, I try to extend STEM beyond science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In this case, there is a mapping extension activity. I created differentiated versions so you can use them for kids in K-3, and included the maps in both color and black and white. They can follow the path of the birds in the story:

This was one of my most fun STEM tales to create! The cute factor is through the roof, and the story really comes alive.

STEM tales are a great way to foster teamwork and problem-solving. This STEM tale usually inspires amazing creativity and excitement from the littlest engineers.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:

Pin the idea for later:

Fairy Tale STEM - The Ugly Duckling! The ducklings are going to help swan find his way home to his mother. They need to get past predators, though, so they will need excellent camouflage! Meredith Anderson Momgineer

To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

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