Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Balloons Over Broadway - Thanksgiving Floats STEM Challenge

We had a crazy two days before Thanksgiving Break!  The kids loved making Thanksgiving floats for this STEM Challenge!  We started by reading the picture book, Balloons Over Broadway, by Melissa Sweet.  This book talks about how those huge floats came to be used in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!


We also watched a few videos on-line so students could see the different floats!  Many of my students had never seen them before and they were so amazed!

Students then got assorted styles of balloons, plastic balloon sticks, and tape so they could work as a team to make their own floats!

Here are some of their ideas!
If you are interested in purchasing this fun STEM challenge, click here!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Making STEM Challenges More or Less Difficult

I often get asked how to make STEM challenges more or less challenging for students of different ages or abilities.  This is actually a pretty easy thing to do (meaning you can do it yourself without much trouble)!
1.Decrease or Increase the Supplies
       One of the easiest ways to make these challenges easier or harder, is to alter the amount of materials used.  Think about how much harder a challenge becomes with a limited amount of tape!  If students are struggling, increase supplies to make it a little easier for them.  You can make these decisions at the beginning or even during the challenge!
2.Add a Timer
       Challenges become a lot trickier if you have to get them done in a specific amount of time.  Most challenges take intermediate kids about 45 minutes.  What if you reduced that time?  If kids are struggling, you can give them more time!
3.Give them a Second Chance
       Sometimes students need a second chance at a challenge!  Give it a little time and then let them try out a challenge that they really struggled with a second time.  Most of the time they will do really well during their second chance!

Time to get engineering!
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