Save the Ice Pop STEM Challenge

We’ve all been there, it’s a hot day, and you really want an ice pop ( popsicle ), but it’s too cold to hold at first, and then the sun melts it before you can really enjoy it. This ice pop STEM challenge solves both problems!

A fun twist on this, if popsicles aren’t your favourite snack, is a save the chocolate STEM challenge.

The Ice Pop STEM Challenge


To design and make an ice pop holder to protect your hands from the cold and also slow down how fast the ice pop melts.

Extra challenge

Make the ice pop holder either reusable or recyclable so there’s less waste.

You’ll need

Frozen ice pops/popsicles

Recycled or craft items to make the ice pop holder. For example –

Bubble wrap

Kitchen foil




Ice Pop STEM challenge Instructions

Step 1

Design a holder for an ice pop/popsicle.

Think about functionality as well as how it looks. For example, the ice pop holder needs to contain an insulating material to protect hands from the cold and shield the ice pop from the heat of the sun.

Step 2

Make the ice pop holder. The design can be tweaked at this stage.

Step 3

Test the ice pop holder.

Does it protect your hands from the cold?

Does it slow down how fast the ice pop melts? To test this, you’ll need to set up a small investigation.

Leave on ice pop uncovered in the sun. Cover a second ice pop with the holder and leave it in the same place.

Check on both ice pops every 5 minutes and monitor how fast each melts.

My free design and experiment sheet is a great addition to this activity!

I also have more generic STEM challenge templates available if you prefer.

Top tips for choosing materials

Bubble wrap is a great choice as it will insulate the ice pops from the heat of the sun as the tiny pockets of air trap the heat. Bubble wrap is a good insulator.

White reflects heat, so a white or light-coloured material on the outside will help keep the ice pop cool. Black paper will absorb heat and speed up how fast the ice pop melts.

Extension Ideas

Cover one ice pop with white paper and one with black paper to investigate reflecting and absorbing materials. Remember you’ll need a control ice pop that is uncovered and all three left in the same place.

Set up an investigation to discover whether leaving an ice pop in the shade slows down how fast it melts.

Design and build a lolly pop shelter to shade a lolly pop from the sun.

If you liked this popsicle stick STEM challenge, don’t forget to try my other FREE summer STEM challenges!

Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Emma Vanstone

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