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STEM Reindeer Activity and Science Connections

When students think about the holidays they often think of Christmas trees, candy canes, and reindeer. Celebrate the holidays through activities that will connect a story book to a science topic...then add a sprinkle of STEM for a great hands on project!

This will allow your learners the opportunity to investigate adaptations that help reindeer survive in their environment as well as add a bit of holiday fun in a hands-on academic way!

Objective: Investigate adaptations of a reindeer to find ways that reindeer are able to survive in the tundra and then apply it by making a reindeer that shows those adaptations.


  • QR codes that show reindeer facts (included in my Reindeer Pack)/ reading material that show reindeer facts/watch a video that shares reindeer facts
  • toilet paper rolls
  • brown pipe cleaners
  • brown pom poms
  • masking tape
  • brown construction paper
I use the Epic Book Reindeer by Dee Phillips. Epic books is free for educators!


1. What do you know about reindeer? Where do they live and what do you think they do to survive where it is so cold? 
2. Today, we are going to learn about reindeer and their adaptations that they have that helps them survive. An adaptation is a change in the body to fit a location.
3. Read the story Reindeer
4. Now, have them create an anchor chart that has them share what they learned. This is a great spot to introduce the STEM activity. 

If you have the pack...share with them the QR Code Reindeer Game. They will get time to Scoot around the room to find ways that reindeer adapt. This will help them when they create their reindeer out of supplies you will provide.  Give them the record sheet and have them collect information by scanning the qr codes for facts!

5. We then gather to add to our anchor chart. This is where I introduce the STEM activity. They will be creating a reindeer out of the materials provided. They must show adaptations that they learned and be able to provide evidence as to what they learned by drawing and labeling their STEM reindeer. 

6. After giving learners time to create their reindeer, we then share adaptations. We create a herd of reindeer for display in our classroom. If children get done early we have them create a habitat using a box display, cotton balls, green and brown paper, blue paper for water...

7. They each add a fact tent to the display sharing one thing from their facts they collected or what is on our anchor chart! 

I know tis' the season to add some fun STEM, but if you are like me...I am on evaluation and I want to make sure that if we are doing a hands-on STEM project that we are tying it into Science so that the academics goes hand in hand with the S in STEM! 

I have included the lesson and the STEM activity sheet! Sign up for my newsletter for more free ideas! Find it by following this link: STEM Reindeer Freebie...want more? QR codes, adaptation ideas, more STEM connections...find the complete pack here: http://bit.ly/SSYReindeerpack

This was a perfect time to integrate reindeer facts, an adaptation lesson, and STEM connection...on a side note...when I asked my second graders to share facts about real reindeer that live in the tundra before we read our story...each "fact" revolved around Santa and his reindeer. After reading our book and going through our QR code game...they really had a framework about other reindeer, not just Santa's! 
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