Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Connecting Literature and STEM ~ The One and Only Ivan

I love finding opportunities to connect STEM Challenges with the books we are reading in class.  We read, "The One and Only Ivan", by Katherine Applegate.  This book is simply amazing.  It is the story of a silverback gorilla that spends 27 years of his life in a shopping mall as an attraction.  It is based on a true story.  We did a lot of discussing and a lot of persuasive writing with this book.

We also did a lot of STEM...

Of the five STEM challenges we did with this book, this was my students' favorite one.  They each got five straws, a piece of cardboard, some air-dry clay and a plastic zoo animal.  Their goal was to create a cage for their animal that could hold the most weight.  These pictures show our animal cages AFTER we tested them.

We had quite a few different ideas.  Students always get SO excited when we extend our reading into STEM challenge lessons.


  1. This looks great. I'm going to try this challenge out with my class in a week or two. What size cardboard did you use? And how much clay did you give each group?

    Miss Ogle - Opunake Primary

  2. Hi there! We used sheets of 12 x 9 cardboard that were cut into halves and fourths (I did the cutting with a box cutter). I gave each student one third of an individual pack of Crayola model magic (not much at all). Good luck!


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