STEM Lesson Series Lesson 3: Junkmail Shoe

For Grades: K-6

Step 1 - Introduction


Lesson Overview

Can you build a shoe from junkmail?! This engineering design challenge will take creativity and sole! (That’s a shoe pun. Get it? Like soul, but sole.) You’ll use the Engineering Design Process to Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve, and Share your shoe. This lesson will take about an hour to complete, but if you want to make a super awesome shoe, work on it for 30min to 1 hour each day for the next few days, improving your shoe each time!

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Photos from Nerds

Step 2 - Learn More

For All Ages

How Vans Sneakers are Made

(3 minutes) The shoe you design doesn’t have to look like these, but it is so interesting to see how shoes are manufactured, or made using machines!

For Grades 3-6

Oldest Leather Shoe!

This amazing shoe found in a cave in Armenia is 5,500 years old! It’s made of a single piece of leather and packed with grass inside. After watching the Vans’ve come a long way!

For All Ages

These Nerds Inspire!

(3 minutes) Our nerd friends Lauren and Cole not only made a Junk Mail Shoe this week, they also made this video of their Design Process! Amazing job, nerds!

Step 3 - Your Project


Junkmail Shoe

  • Challenge: Build a wearable shoe our of junk mail!
    • Materials:
      • Junkmail or Newspaper
      • Tape
      • Glue
    • Requirements:
      • Must be able to come on and off your foot.
      • Must be able to walk 10 steps without it hurting or falling apart.
    • Use the Engineering Design Process
      • Ask – How can I build a shoe out of junk mail and tape?
      • Imagine – Think about the possibilities! Do research if needed.
        • What type of shoe? Sandal? Sneaker? High heel?
      • Plan – Draw a design on paper. Think about how parts of the shoe will be attached.
      • Create – Build your shoe!
      • Improve – Does the shoe fit comfortably? Does it stay on your foot as you walk? Could it look more awesome?
      • Share – See step 4!
    • If you have time, build a second shoe and wear your new shoes around your house to be fashionable. Wait patiently for Nike to recruit you to their design team.


Step 4 - Share


Share with someone younger than you.

Share with someone you love! Today’s recommendation is to talk to someone younger than you, and tell them about your project!

  • Possible things to talk about:
    • What did you learn?
    • What did you build?
    • What problems did you run into?
    • How did you solve them?

Step 5 - Go Deeper


Work on your shoe for 30min-1 hour each day for the next few days. Continue to improve your design!

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