How to Use One Simple Material for a Highly Engaging Challenge

When I was a very little girl my parents lived in Germany and to this day I can remember traveling to Italy in a Volkswagen Beetle. You know, those super tiny cars called VW Bugs? Well, we drove across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and into Italy to see Rome. On the way, we stopped in Pisa and saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Many years later we went back, this time in a station wagon, with my grandparents, and we saw the leaning tower again. A vivid memory of the breathless climb to the top was holding my Popaw's hand all the way. What a remarkable thing that was! A farmer from Alabama hiking to the top of the Leaning Tower! This iconic tower is, of course, one my students of today always visualize as we begin to build a tower.

One of the first STEM challenges we ever tried was tower building. The kids loved it so much that I started planning more tower building events. We have tried towers with many different materials - like spaghetti, toothpicks, and even penny-toting buckets!

One of our all-time favorite towers is the Index Card Tower.

You will love this one, too because of....

How to Get Rid of That Junk in Your Classroom

If you are like most teachers I know -  you save everything.
I am pretty sure you know what a junkyard is, but how about a junk car?
Let's just say it like this- a car made of junk. Now, how is this going to work, you ask. Stick with me and I will give you some hints and tricks, and a way to tackle a STEM challenge using junk you already have- which will help you get rid of some of it, too!

STEM Challenge: Build a car using basic materials and a little bit of junk.

A Breakthrough That Will Help You Plan for STEM

I promise your planning is going to be so much easier with this revelation I found with planning and my youngest engineers!
It's almost like peanut butter and jelly! Books and STEM just go together! It's the greatest discovery ever. Let me share some ways that you can try today!

This is another set of five books and five STEM Challenge ideas that you can do with your first and second graders with materials you already have in your classroom!
Kids love this approach:
Read a book, talk about what they can build inspired by the book, and then build it!
Take a look at this month's books and challenges!
Throughout the post, for your convenience, you’ll find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon compensates me if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you. This helps keep this little blog running!
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