Subject: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

Lesson Length: 35 - 45 mins

Topic: STEM Challenges

Grade Level: 4, 5

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will describe an invention that would solve a global or environmental problem, e.g., flooding, waste disposal, pollution, extreme heat, etc.

Know Before You Start:

  • Students should have some prior knowledge of the STEM challenge process.


  • Review the STEM challenge process with students:
    • Identify the problem.
    • Brainstorm solutions.
    • Formulate a plan.
    • Construct a solution.
    • Test the solution.
    • Reflect.
    • Iterate.
  • Read and discuss the sample comic.
    • What global or environmental problem was the character facing?
    • What did they invent to solve this problem?


  • As a class or independently, have students brainstorm a list of global or environmental problems.

  • Discuss the function of a prototype. A prototype is a sample solution and can be as simple as a description or drawing.

  • Have students create a five-panel comic describing a prototype solution to a global problem which includes the following:

    • The problem.

    • Possible solutions.

    • A plan or prototype and an explanation about how it would solve the problem.

  • Explain that they will not be able to test their solution, as they would on a home or school problem. 


  • Have students share their proposed inventions with a partner.


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or groups as needed.
  • Provide a list of global or environmental problems from which to choose.


  • Comic to print or display: Comic.