Sunday, August 28, 2016

2 STEM Challenges to Start the Year

I always like to start the school year with 2 specific STEM Challenges.  The first STEM Challenge we do is Tiny Glasses.  Students have to build the tallest structure using 48 tiny glasses in only 20 minutes.

This is the first challenge I like to do for a few reasons.  First, it is a challenge that no one is very good at the first few times they try it.  Students have to be able to not give up in order to be successful and the time limit makes them even more likely to think it is impossible.  We always have a great discussion once the challenge is over about growth mindset and the importance of continued trying, even in the midst of utter failure.

The second challenge we complete is the Puzzle Building Challenge.  This challenge requires students to build a 24-60 piece puzzle together without the picture on the box.  As if that wasn't challenging enough, students have to do it without talking to one another.  They can use hand gestures, but no actually talking.

This challenge shows the students the value of communication during a STEM challenge.  They also come up with really clever ways to communicate with one another without words, which always seems to strengthen the team.

Which STEM challenges do you like to begin the year with?  Please share your ideas in the comments!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Monthly STEM Challenge for September

I am so excited about our first school-wide monthly STEM challenge!  This one requires very few materials!  All you need is a pack of assorted balloons from the Dollar Tree and a roll of masking tape (also from the Dollar Tree).  Each month, I also add a book or two and I love these two!

Stay tuned for pictures of our balloon towers once school starts!  Click here to purchase this monthly STEM challenge pack!

Here are some of our finished balloon towers!

Our tallest free-standing balloon tower was 64 inches tall.  We used a pack of 25 assorted balloons per group!

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