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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