Monday, January 15, 2018

Get Ready for Groundhogs Day!

Groundhogs Day is always a fun one for kids.  They usually know a few things about it by the time they reach the intermediate grades, but it could be a great chance to do some STEM with shadows and a little research on groundhogs as an animal.

Groundhog Research Poster

Groundhog STEM Challenge with Shadows

These two packs are a great way to learn a little more about groundhogs and shadows!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Steven Kroll Picture Books STEM Challenges

My students love picture books!  Steven Kroll is an author who has some great ones!  We do these challenges throughout the school year with our kindergarten buddies!  We read aloud the book and then do the challenge!

These challenges are so much fun to complete and hang in the hallway!  They require very few supplies, just bulletin board paper and measuring tools!  Click here to grab the BUNDLE!  These challenges are also available for purchase individually in my TPT store!

These challenges are always so much fun!  Here are some of our Biggest Snowmen!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Balloons Over Broadway - Thanksgiving Floats STEM Challenge

We had a crazy two days before Thanksgiving Break!  The kids loved making Thanksgiving floats for this STEM Challenge!  We started by reading the picture book, Balloons Over Broadway, by Melissa Sweet.  This book talks about how those huge floats came to be used in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!

We also watched a few videos on-line so students could see the different floats!  Many of my students had never seen them before and they were so amazed!

Students then got assorted styles of balloons, plastic balloon sticks, and tape so they could work as a team to make their own floats!

Here are some of their ideas!
If you are interested in purchasing this fun STEM challenge, click here!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Making STEM Challenges More or Less Difficult

I often get asked how to make STEM challenges more or less challenging for students of different ages or abilities.  This is actually a pretty easy thing to do (meaning you can do it yourself without much trouble)!
1.Decrease or Increase the Supplies
       One of the easiest ways to make these challenges easier or harder, is to alter the amount of materials used.  Think about how much harder a challenge becomes with a limited amount of tape!  If students are struggling, increase supplies to make it a little easier for them.  You can make these decisions at the beginning or even during the challenge!
2.Add a Timer
       Challenges become a lot trickier if you have to get them done in a specific amount of time.  Most challenges take intermediate kids about 45 minutes.  What if you reduced that time?  If kids are struggling, you can give them more time!
3.Give them a Second Chance
       Sometimes students need a second chance at a challenge!  Give it a little time and then let them try out a challenge that they really struggled with a second time.  Most of the time they will do really well during their second chance!

Time to get engineering!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Creepy Carrots

This is such a FUN challenge to do in the month of October!  We started by reading the book, Creepy Carrots.  It is adorable!

This Engineering Design Challenge is based on the picture book, Creepy Carrots!, by Aaron Reynolds:

Can your group create a fence that will contain a creepy carrot using the fewest number of craft sticks?

Materials: (per group)
Whole carrot (variety of sizes works best)
Sheet of cardboard (as a base)
Craft sticks
Tape and scissors

The kids had a BLAST with this challenge!  The winning team only used 13 craft sticks!  Click here to purchase the challenge!

Ugly Pumpkins

Who doesn't love a great picture book?  The Ugly Pumpkin is one of my fall favorites!

We read this book in class and then talked about the different themes in the book.  Students made their own Ugly Pumpkins that showed some emotion.

Students were able to come up with a ton of great themes for the book and they loved the end of the book when the Ugly Pumpkin says, "Oh my gosh!  I'm a squash!"

Here are our Ugly Pumpkins!  Aren't they the cutest things!  Click here for a great TPT pack using this book!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Have You Used Bouncy Bands Yet?

Do you have kiddos that need to move a lot?  These may help you keep your students focused and ready to learn, AND they are quiet!

My kids often used them by pushing against them with their feet.  I was amazed at how much my kids loved these bands!  I will definitely be purchasing more for my classroom!  If you want to grab a few for your classroom, I have a discount code (10% off) you can use until the end of September. The code is SMARTCHICK.  Just go to the Bouncy Band website!

You can even order these using Donors Choose!  Click here for a resource page to help you get started!
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