Monday, July 25, 2016

Make Your Own Microscope Slides

Did you know you can make your own microscope slides?  It is really easy!

All you need is:

- plastic microscope slides
- clear nail polish
- assorted items (salt, glitter, sugar, leaf, penny, bead, etc.)
   {or anything else you want to put on a microscope slide}


1. Place a pool of clear nail polish on the center of the slide.

2, Place the item onto the clear nail polish.

3. Let dry.

4. Examine under a microscope.

You can place one item on each end of the microscope slide to save space.  Try placing comparable items together, like salt and sugar crystals - salt on one end and sugar on the other.  You can label each slide's contents with a fine sharpie marker!

Super easy and the kids have a blast!  You can store slides in a plastic school box so students can examine items more than once!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

FREE Subway Art Pack for STEM

I love framing quotes and subway art in my classroom!  I always looks great hanging up in the classroom, or even in the hallway.  There are two versions in the pack!

Click here for a FREE Subway Art Pack for STEM!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

STEM Classroom Set-Up - Bulletin Board Idea

Looking for a colorful way to display STEM, STEAM, or STREAM information in your classroom?

Just mount these onto a bulletin board or white board and add related information, research, data, etc. for each letter in the acronym!  The file can also be modified to work as STEM, STEAM, or STREAM!

Get your students thinking and talking about STEM, STEAM, or STREAM!

Click here for the link for this pack!  For $3 you get the posters as well as some interactive notebook pages and even a notebook cover design!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Let's do STEM Together ~ Part One: Introducing STEM to Teachers

Looking for a way to get your building involved in STEM?  You don't have to be a "STEM" school to do STEM!  STEM teaching and learning really benefits ALL students.  Through STEM based lessons, students learn skills in collaboration, cooperation, communication, and perseverance, just to name a few!

The first step is getting teachers to TRY it!  STEM can be a little scary, especially to elementary teachers who are often uncomfortable in the areas of science and technology.  An easy way to get teachers to try it, is to give each one a pool noodle.  Yes, a pool noodle!  These are easy to find and really cheap during the summer (especially in August).

Teachers simply need to cut up the pool noodle into various sizes and shapes (use a kitchen knife) and as students to build the tallest free-standing tower using all of the cut pieces.  The supplies are easy to find and QUIET when they crash (which they inevitably do at least once).  

 Here are a few examples of the towers student groups built using pool noodles.  One of the best parts of STEM challenges is that there is no "right" way to do things.  Many different ideas will work!

If you really get into using pool noodles, you may want to check out my pool noodle challenge pack. It contains five different STEM challenges using pool noodles and other, easy to find supplies.  The 

Five Challenges Included in this Pool Noodle Challenge Set:

Pool Noodle Race Track Challenge
Pool Noodle Shooter Challenge
Pool Noodle Rocket Challenge
Pool Noodle Structure Challenge
Pool Noodle Sculpture Challenge

Start out with an easy to prep and complete STEM challenge and teachers will hopefully get a little out of their own comfort zones in order to let their students try STEM!

Stay tuned for more ways to get STEM going in your school!

Friday, July 8, 2016

About The Blog Author!

Hi there!  I am a 4th and 5th grade teacher with 20 years of experience in urban public schools.  I have taught in four different buildings and I have been lucky enough to work with many different student populations.  I spent seven years in a self-contained gifted classroom and I am currently working at a STEM K-5 school.  As the STEM Coordinator  at my building, I have developed many different monthly school-wide challenges, STEM breaks and engineering challenges for my own building.  Elementary teachers are often more comfortable with themes and literature, so many of my challenge packs are organized around themes and literature.

I am always looking for ways to connect with other teachers who are exploring and experimenting with STEM in their own classrooms.  STEM can be so overwhelming and challenging at first, but the amazing ways the kids respond to STEM will make you want to keep trying things.  My own students are so much better at collaboration, communication and risk taking thanks to STEM activities.

My newest collection is called Stories and STEM!  It is a great way to get kids reading and connecting their reading with STEM engineering challenges.  Stay tuned to my TPT store for more of these packs as I add them!

I am also a wife and mom to three amazing kids, an 11th grader, a 9th grader and a 4th grader.  They keep me pretty busy, too!  Stay tuned for more posts!  Comment or email me with any questions or comments!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Start the Year with a School-wide STEM Challenge ~ Balloon Towers!

Get ready to start the year off right by using school-wide STEM challenges!  This one is one of my new favorites!

Can your classroom create the tallest free-standing balloon tower?
All you need is a pack of assorted balloons from the dollar store for each classroom and some masking tape!  Each classroom needs to create the tallest balloon tower from the balloons.  The tower must be free-standing.  These balloon towers look amazing when they are set up outside each classroom (especially in time for those Open House and Curriculum Nights)!

For each of the monthly STEM challenges, we connect them with fiction and non-fiction books.  The two books we are using with this challenge are:

Balloon Trees by Danna Smith  Ever wonder how a balloon is made? Follow the journey of a balloon from its beginnings as gooey sap in a tree to its completion at a rubber factory. You'll be surprised to discover what a balloon started out as and how it becomes the bright, air-filled decoration that you enjoy today.

Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Mark Buehner   Harvey Potter was a very strange fellow indeed. He was a farmer but not like any farmer you've ever met. He didn't grow corn, okra, or tomatoes. Harvey Potter grew balloons. No one knew exactly how he did it, but with the help of the light of a full moon, one friendly child catches a peek of just how Harvey Potter does it. And keeps some magic for herself.

The first book is a work on non-fiction and the second is fiction.  Both books explain how balloons are made (the fictional title is a hoot).  These two books provide a great opportunity for students to compare and contrast multiple texts.

Stay tuned for more school-wide challenges!  They are great way to involve all students and teachers in STEM!
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