Saturday, July 6, 2019

Design Cycle Chart - Free Download & Project Idea

We use the design cycle as we are doing STEM challenges in our classroom.  We often talk ourselves through the design cycle as we are doing the challenges.  I have given out the chart for kids to complete on their own or as a group and I have projected it on the board at the front of the class as we are talking our way through the cycle.  Both work well!

Click here to use this forever freebie to bring the design cycle into your classroom. 

STEM Design Cycle ~ FREE Graphic Organizer

STEM Design Cycle ~ FREE Graphic Organizer
One of my favorite projects at the beginning of the year is to have kids make their own version of the design cycle.  They have to use all of the correct vocabulary, but they can add their own spin on it!  This project really brings the design cycle to a better level of understanding to the students.  We often use their design cycles in class (they make a black and white version either by hand or on google slides or another computer program).  Click here to purchase that Make Your Own pack.

Make your Own Design Cycle Posters and Graphic Organizers

How do you use the design process in your classroom?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Paper Circuits Lab

Paper circuits can be really challenging!  We have been working throughout the year on the idea that failing is okay and that it just means you get to try again.  These paper circuits turned out to be a great way to fail and try again!

We started with the simple paper circuit.  We made it with a cheet of colored cardstock paper, one LED (light emitting diode), copper foil tape, and a 3V battery.  Click on each one for the link to purchase if needed.

We then moved on to trying to get 2 of the LEDs to light up!  This was REALLY tough to figure out!  The LED bulbs have a negative and a positive metal lead.  Place them on either side of the battery to figure out which is which!

These took about an hour to figure out!  I gave kids a lot of hints as we went, but I really made them struggle through it, which was TOTALLY worth it!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Billions of Bricks - Picture Book STEM Challenge

 We love pairing our STEM challenges with a picture book!  This challenge is paired with the book Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus.  Click here for a link to the book.

The challenge was for students to make an actual sized brick using cardstock paper.  This required A LOT of measuring and was a great way to review some math.

Most of the bricks were really close to actual size.  Just a few were off.  I had the kids measure the bricks of their tablemates to determine which ones fit the size requirement.

This challenge requires really cheap materials and is still really challenging!  Click here to purchase the STEM pack!

Billions of Bricks by K. Cyrus: Picture Book Engineering Design Challenge ~ STEM

Time to get engineering those bricks!

Create a Bug Zoo! - Writing and STEM

Whenever I can add a creative element to our writing, I do!  It gets the kids more excited about writing and they seeem to write better every time!  For this writing assignment we start by reading the picture book, Bug Zoo by Andy Harkness.  The book is about a kid who catches and keeps bugs for his own Bug Zoo until he realizes he should set them all free.  For the writing assignment, each student chooses an insect and does research in order to write a report.  They then get a plastic box container and they create a habitat using plastic flowers, grass, etc. and a model magic model of the insect.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Kids absolutely love learning about bats!  We had a great time writing and doing science activities with bats!  The kids favorite part...THE BAT CAVE!

This was really easy (and cheap) to make!  Just a pack of plastic sheeting from the nearby Home Depot, duct tape, and a box fan!  The kids got to do research and read inside the bat cave.  They also got to teach younger kiddos all about bats while they brought them in the cave.

We also wrote reports on bats!

The kids had to do a lot of research to write these reports!  They learned a lot!

We also read a lot of books and found out a lot of information we did not know!

You can find these activities (and a lot more) in my Bat Pack!  Just click here to purchase the pack!

What animals do your students love to learn about?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Charlotte's Web STEM Challenges

My kids love it when we connect STEM to our other subjects!  It brings additional hands-on learning to these subjects as well as chances for the kids to work individually and together.  My kids LOVE reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White each year.  With this book, we do quite a few STEM challenges.

We built spider webs (which was a lot tougher than it looked).  I got the spiders from the Halloween store.  They stick perfectly to the yarn web!

We also kept our own small pigs during the book.  The kids had to build a pig pen.  They absolutely loved taking care of their little pigs.  I found the pigs on Amazon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Creepy Pair of Underwear - STEM Challenge

This was one of our ALL TIME FAVORITE challenges this year!  To start, the kids had so much fun with reading this book!  It is such a funny and cute story.

I got the rabbits from the Oriental Trading Company.  They were pretty inexpensive, so I was able to get one bunny for each student in our classroom.  You could also do this challenge as a pair so students can share a bunny.  The bunnies are durable enough to use for more than one year!  Click here for a link to the bunnies!

Students got a sheet of green cardstock paper, scissors, tape, and a permanent marker.  They had to design a pair of underwear for their bunny that could come on and off in one piece.  That was challenging!

This challenge really brought a smile to everyone's face!   The kids really had to do a trial and error approach to figuring this one out!

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