Friday, April 28, 2017

Building Bird Nests - STEM Challenge

During our Bird Unit, we have been really busy!  Between science labs on bird beaks and a bunch of different writing and project assignments, we have also been doing a lot of STEM challenges related to birds!  One of the best activities we did was building bird nests with natural items we picked up outside during our nature walk!  The nests had to hold a certain number of eggs.  Students could not use glue or tape in their construction!

They all ended up doing amazing jobs on this challenge, with each student building their own nest! You can pick up this great STEM pack in my store if you want the lab sheets, or you can just have your own kids make bird nests!  Click here if you want to grab this pack for $2!

Time to get building!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Growing Grass Heads - Monthly STEM Challenge

I stumbled upon this great book and I knew I had to make a STEM challenge to go with it!  This monthly challenge is a great spring one, but since you are using grass seeds, you could do it any time! You can find this book on Amazon or Scholastic!

In the book, the individual grass seeds all have their own personalities!  Very fun!  The challenge unit is so engaging and fun!  Here are a few of ours in week 3 out of 4!

The STEM challenge pack can be purchased for $2.50!  It is a great one to use at the end of the school year!  Click here to buy your copy of the pack!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Shark Testing Theme - Take a BITE Out of Those Tests!

I know everyone is so tired of testing, but since we have to do it, why not make it fun?  This year we went with a SHARK theme! Click here for the FREE pack!  So exciting!  We started with a shark cut out and made some really cute shark testing posters with our theme!

Students had a great time coloring and filling out their shark posters for testing!  We also took pictures of each student with their faces peeking out of the shark face!  They were SO cute!  We posted them with the different testing ideas the kids had when we talked about it!  By adding a shark fin to the info cards, we made it into the funnest picture display!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Circuit Board Game - Teaching about Circuits

I love to teach about Circuits and Electricity!  One of our favorite activities is making Circuit Board games!  Click here for the link to buy the game pack for $2!

We had the BEST time making these in our classroom!  Kids were able to make a game on any topic. They had a blast!  You need wires, wire clippers, brads, a battery (AA), masking tape, cardboard, lab sheets, and a light bulb.


We played on these games for a week!  They are so much fun!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ecosystem Dioramas

Who doesn't love dioramas?  They were one of my favorite things to make as a kid and kids today STILL love them!

We were studying these six different land biomes:  Desert, Temperate Forest, Taiga, Grassland, Tundra, and Rain Forest.

Students were required to do research using books and the Internet.  They created an informational file about the ecosystem and then used the information to design the diorama.  They had to give me a list of materials they would need to make the ecosystem.  We used storage boxes I found at Staples for the dioramas.  Once they were created, students had to teach their classmates about the ecosystem and create a worksheet for classmates to complete.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Interactive Planet Reports

Writing can be tough for my students, so I try to make it as interesting as I can in order to get my kids to enjoy writing.  During our space unit, we researched the 13 different planets in our solar system (yes, I said 13!).  There are 8 major planets and 5 minor (or dwarf) planets.  These flap reports are made by using three sheets of white construction paper.  Lay the paper staggered with about an inch gap, then fold the three sheets over to create the other flaps.

Students used books and the Internet to research the planet of their choice.  They created five headings, one per flap, based on this research, so not all reports have the same headings.  Each section contains information and drawings or pictures.


Students then made a model of their planet using Crayola model magic.  We displayed the model hanging under the report.  These reports are interactive because readers can flip through the flaps to quickly find information.

Leprechaun Trap - March STEM Challenge

Looking for a fun way to survive St. Patrick's Day on March 17th?  This FREE pack may be just what you and your little leprechauns are looking for!  At my school, we love to connect STEM with literature and we found a great book to use from Scholastic or Amazon!

This is also a great STEM project to send home and get family involvement!  We challenge our kiddos to make one with all "found" materials (like recyclables and things they find around their house).

Each classroom received a copy of the book and a bag of 6 little leprechauns!  There are also cut-out versions included in the STEM pack.  Click here to grab the FREE STEM Pack!

Just got some adorable pictures of leprechaun traps from a 3rd grade teacher in Georgia!  These kids are so creative!


I love that you can use just about anything to make a successful trap!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Creating Craters

During our solar system unit we did a crater lab and the students went crazy for it!  You need three containers, one for corn starch, one for sugar, and one for flour.  In addition, you will need small and large marbles.  Students drop the marbles from different heights and see how the surface composition affects the depth and width of the crater.

Once the marble is dropped, students record data and make observations.  This lab is great for having students connect what they are learning about to real world science labs.  Students can then make predictions about what the surface composition of the moon and Mercury are like based on their experiences with the lab.

Get the Crater Lab pack here for just $2!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What Color were the Dinosaurs?

What color were the dinosaurs?  This is a question sure to grab students' attention!  During a fossil unit, I asked students this question and then gave them a pack of white model magic (a modeling compound made by Crayola) and a plastic dinosaur skeleton.  They came up with some great ideas!

Once students had created their dinosaur, they had to write about WHY their dinosaur had these colors, patterns, etc.  That really made them think about why animals today are different colors.  Some coloration has to do with camouflage, but there are also animals that have warning colors, or that use mimicry.  This quick lab led to some great conversations as well as the idea that there are a lot of questions that science still cannot answer.

To make the shelves for the bulletin board, I cut a square of cardboard and then stuck a T-pin through it from underneath (just stick it on the top and spin the shelf).  These shelves hold a decent amount of weight and they make it easier to display 3D objects!

What science questions have led to some of your best lessons?

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!  

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