Some Stories Stay with Us Forever

Think about it for a minute....what book pops into your mind immediately that just stuck with you for a long time. Even now when you are thinking about that book you can see the characters and remember events in the book. The heartbreak. The sadness. The joy.

Whatever it was. It still resonates within you. The power of the author's words. For me, the book that popped into my head was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. If you have not read that one, you should. Today.

But first, check out my reviews for this month!


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Shipwrecks and Jolly Pirates and First Grade STEM!

What can a shipwreck, a tough pirate, and a jolly pirate do for your STEM class? Good question and I am going to show you exactly what these sweet little picture books can do to get your class going with sailboats! Ships ahoy!

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon passes tiny amounts on to 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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Can You Hear Me Now? (A STEM Challenge)

This tower idea was hatched after talking with some students that love to build towers. They requested just a box of materials and time to just build a tower. Well, as much as that sounded like fun, I also thought there should be a reason for it. Then two days later I happened to see a row of satellite dish devices lining the back of an apartment complex. Every balcony had one and some had two! I thought, "Why doesn't that apartment complex just have one big satellite dish or tower that everyone can access?

BAM! New Stem Idea!
STEM Challenge: It's our latest tower event! One group divided into two teams. Each team builds part of the tower and when they are ready the two teams join their parts together! Fabulous collaboration opportunity!

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A Little Inspiration from the Grand Canyon

Two summers ago we had a chance to visit the Grand Canyon! There are no words to describe this marvel that would be adequate enough to tell you. We flew from Las Vegas to the south rim and just that flight was amazing. Then we boarded a helicopter and flew into the canyon itself. One minute we were skimming over the countryside and the next we were dipping down into the immense canyon. Breathtaking! I took a lot of photos to share with my students because I wanted them to experience this same phenomenon!

If you ever get a chance to go, leap at it! It's a glorious part of this world of ours!

In the meantime, what can you do in your classroom to help students learn about the earth's landforms? Well, of course, I had to invent a STEM Challenge...but there is more!

I have several ideas for you!
  • Put together booklets showing the landforms.
  • Create models of the landforms.
  • Practice with task cards!

Landform Booklets

Many years ago I started having my third graders make booklets about the landforms. I put together copy paper and construction paper and stapled down the center. For each page, the kids drew a landform and then wrote about it. This was a major project!

Create a booklet showing various landforms. Includes a poster set for the landforms and all the parts you need!

Then I started making copies of the booklet pages with clip art in place. This worked so much better. Trust me, having students draw and write about 15-20 landforms was a lengthy project.

Create a booklet showing various landforms. Includes a poster set for the landforms and all the parts you need!
Those copies worked and I also added a poster set to the process. This gave the kids the correct colors for their booklet pages. (Now, when I do this project I print the pages already in color!)
Create a booklet showing various landforms. Includes a poster set for the landforms and all the parts you need!
We added a gorgeous cover to this and created a bound booklet. It's a great little project and the best part is that we kept those booklets in our desks and used them as a reference for the remainder of the school year!


Landform Models


STEM Challenge: Create a model showing various landforms. Label each and be sure they logically can be placed side by side.
This STEM Challenge is just one of the best we have tried- for creative purposes. Students must create a model of a specific number of landforms and label them. What makes this perplexing is that some of the parts are side-by-side so the kids must determine which landforms can be right next to one another. I mean, would you expect to see a glacier beside a desert?

STEM Challenge: Create a model showing various landforms. Label each and be sure they logically can be placed side by side.
The most fun part of the challenge is adding the details! Can you see the sand being poured in the photos? That is for the coastline and beach! We just used sand as if it were glitter! It worked great! 

In the end, we had some great models and kids were able to practice their understanding of the landforms by creating them! Total fun!

Task Cards


Task Cards for practicing landforms. Images, photos, and more!
One last perfect way to practice this skill is by using a task card set! What we loved about this set is that we had clip art images, but I also added some photo images of the landforms. The pictures were just amazing and the kids loved using this set!

This makes a great study! If you need more information about any of these ideas you can click on the images or on the titles below! And, don't forget, put the Grand Canyon trip on your bucket list!


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