Star Book STEM Challenge #2

Bunny Cakes is one Star Book that my students just LOVE. Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s all about cake. Who doesn’t love cake?

For this challenge, I wanted to incorporate a little more art and creativity, so I think technically that would make this a STEAM challenge (Science, Technology , Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics). Either way, this activity is a ton of fun and my students loved it!

[Wondering what Star Books are and what they have to do with STEM Challenges? Check out my original blog post for all the info AND to grab Challenge #1 for FREE!]

The Book

Max and Ruby are two of my all-time favorite characters and my students absolutely ADORE this Max and Ruby adventure. In this book, Max and Ruby are getting ready for Grandma’s birthday by baking her a birthday cake. Ruby, being the proper sister, wants everything to be just right and plans to bake an angel surprise cake with raspberry fluff icing. Meanwhile Max is, well, Max. He makes lots of messes and takes several trips to the grocer to buy replacement ingredients, but in the end, Grandma ends up with two fabulous birthday cakes.

{You can order Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells on Amazon here}

The STEM Challenge

For this challenge, I really wanted to incorporate the creativity of cake decorating AND the fun of grocery shopping because those are both super engaging for young students. {Ok, so I know grocery shopping stinks as an adult, but playing store is seriously one of the most fun things you can do as a kid!} So playing off the scenario set up by the book, the students are tasked with creating a new birthday cake for Grandma in this STEM Challenge.

Each group got $10 in “Bunny Money” to spend on ingredients and must plan out their cake before heading to see the Grocer. That way, could figure out what they could afford on their “budget” before they got to the store. During the planning phase, I provided students with a planning sheet and displayed the pricing list where they could calculate what ingredients they could afford. That was super helpful for showing their math thinking AND for helping me monitor their understanding.

There’s 2 different versions of the planning sheet for easy differentiation.

There are also lots of little story elements tucked into this challenge that are also really engaging for fans of the book. The cake decorations are pulled straight from the pages of the book, including candles, silver stars, sugar hearts, and even Max’s beloved Red Hot Marshmallow Squirters! Having to buy their ingredients from the Grocer also mimic’s the story’s plot line, so it really brings the book to life.


Group Awards

This part of the challenge was new for me and inspired by my time at the Key Issues Institute in Colorado last summer {You can read about that amazing experience here} Group awards are little certificates that recognize different successes throughout the challenge. I created 6 different awards for this challenged aimed at rewarding things like great team work, perfectly meeting the challenge guidelines, and having the most money left over. You can of course do this activity without them, but they add a little extra competition and fun that the students really enjoyed.

Want to try this challenge with your students?

You can grab it from my TPT store by clicking the image or this link. This version includes all the files you see in this post, plus the detailed scenario description for your students, black and white versions of all the cake pieces, 2 versions of the grocery store pricing for easy differentiation, and detailed instructions for implementing in this in your own classroom.


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