Monday, February 27, 2017

Fossil Formation Lab - Simulate How Fossils are Formed

One of my favorite units of study is Fossils!  The kids love doing hands-on labs and these are a lot of fun.  In this one, students use a packing peanut and some wooden toothpicks to make a creature.  The place their creature into the container of sand and then add water.  We leave them for a few minutes and SURPRISE...the packing peanut (soft parts of the creature) dissolves away leaving the wooden toothpicks (the hard parts of the creature) not like they looked before (thanks to settling of the water and sand).  Students also need to know that in the real world, this process takes a LONG time.

This lab is one of my favorites.  Grab it here for just $2!

If you teach fossils, this is a great lab to do with your students!  Check out my store for even more fun fossil activities!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Penguins - STEM Challenge Integrated with Writing

For our School-wide January STEM Challenge, we focused on Penguins!  The kids had so much fun with this one, with grades K-5 participating!  Click here to buy the Penguin Pack!

Students had to make a penguin that was as "life-size" as possible.  The pack contains information sheets for each of the 17 types of penguins that includes measurements as well as background information.  Once the penguin was finished, students wrote a short report about the penguin using the information card and their own research.


Students were able to work individually or as a pair.  We also used the book, Penguins, by Gail Gibbons while we completed the challenge.  The penguins were pretty challenging to create.  Students had to measure the height of the penguin and then make everything proportional to the height as they drew it.

It make a great display!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Column Construction - Greek Mythology and STEM

We are reading, The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, one of my favorite novels to do with upper elementary kids.  The book has a ton of information about the people and creatures in Greek mythology.  While reading the book, we are going to work on some mythology-inspired challenges, like column construction!

Here is our display after the challenge!  The kids got one sheet of copy paper and 2 index cards for this challenge.  They could also use scissors and tape.  Their goal was to build a paper column that could hold the most weight.


The kids had a lot of fun with this individual challenge!

On a side note--We got a FUJI Insta-Max camera with my Scholastic bonus points and the kids LOVE taking pictures of the different activities and labs we do in the classroom.  The film is reasonable and they love it!

Looking for Mythology Challenges?  Click here for the link to my pack on TPT!  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy New Year Giveaway!

Why not start off the new year with a Teachers Pay Teachers Giveaway?   As we get rested and ready to hit the ground running in January, a $25 gift card would help you get off to a great start.

The wonderful people at TPT gave me 2 $25 gift cards to giveaway to my followers!  No strings attached, just fill out the form below.

Good luck!

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Paper Chair Challenge

Can you build a paper chair that can hold the weight of a stuffed animal?  This STEM challenge is always one of my students' favorites!  There is a lot of opportunity for variety in this challenge depending on whether you restrict the supplies and/or the size(s) of the stuffed animals.

For our version of the challenge, students were restricted to only 12 inches of masking tape and 2 sheets of copy paper.  This restriction in supplies provided an added challenge for my students.  In past years, I had students bring in their own stuffed animals and then use tape and paper to build a chair to hold their stuffed animal.  Either way works great!

Here are some of our solutions:

These little stuffed animals were from Amazon.  They were really inexpensive.  Students who were successful in the challenge got to keep an animal as an added bonus.  This challenge was a lot of fun!

Monday, December 5, 2016

What to do With a Box? Challenge - Connecting Literature and STEM

Connecting picture books and STEM seems so natural in an elementary classroom, but I know it can also be successfully done in even middle and high school classrooms.  Each quarter, we send home a STEM Challenge Project and this is one of the students' favorites!  Here are some of their projects!

We based this set of STEM projects on the book, What Can You Do With a Box?,  by Jane Yolen.

Students got a 6 x 6 x 6 cardboard box, which you can buy in bulk on Amazon (you can get 25 of them for $6.95)!  

If you want detailed directions and lab sheets, you can buy this STEM pack in my TpT store!  Click here for the link.

These look great displayed in the hallway or classroom!  Our students were so proud of their creations and they loved giving a short presentation to their classmates about their box project!

What can you do with a cardboard box?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Straw Tower Challenge - Can you Break a World Record?

Who doesn't dream of breaking a world record?  This new STEM pack will give your students a chance to do just that!

As we were reading the novel, Masters of Disaster, by Gary Paulsen, we worked on learning more about world records since the main characters try to break them in the book (with hilarious results).

This was one of the simplest, but also the most challenging!

Out of six groups, only two were successful this time.  Students got straws and a limited amount of tape.  They learned a lot about design during this challenge.  You do not have to be successful in a STEM challenge in order to learn a lot!

We learned that you need a wide base in order to support the weight of the tower as it grows in height.  

Want to break a real world record?  Try this one!  You can find the straws/connectors on Amazon!

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