Creative and Useful Hats Inspired by the Zoo

My adventures with first and second-grade engineers has been just a fun one! They are eager to build anything and cannot wait to get busy.

The best, absolute best, idea for keeping them engaged is to present them with a short (very short) video or book to set the stage for our STEM task. They love quick little videos, but I also discovered some fabulous picture books that we can read and use as inspiration.

Today's STEM task is all about being a zookeeper!

STEM Challenge- Read a book about a zoo and then have kids build a zookeeper hat! Check this blog post for ideas!

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The Best Ever - A Highly Engaging STEM Challenge

So, I started a new STEM adventure and I really had no idea how my students might react. After each class completed this little task I asked for some feedback - which is kind of a dangerous thing to do with fifth graders. Nevertheless, I asked and here is what I got, 
“After three years of STEM this is the favorite thing I have ever done. I loved every part of this. I loved solving the puzzles and finding things. It made me use by brain.”
Seriously. 

I think I have a winner with this new idea.

STEM Quest - Kids solve puzzles and follow clues using Space Shuttle Missions information. Clues to lead to lock codes and they unlock the box to reveal the next task!
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Plop! Plop! Fizz, Fizz in the Lab!

So, there's a story behind this one!

I was looking for something in one of our lab cabinets and a box of effervescing tablets fell out. A third grader saw the box and said,
"Hey, my grandma has these!"
Well, that was heartbreaking- this is a stomach medicine we use at my house! Am I old enough to be a grandma? #yes

Then I had to explain why I had a box in the lab and it involves rockets and it is not an event I do with third graders, but it made me start thinking.... BAM! Brain pop time.



STEM Challenge- Can you use your data from testing effervescing tablets and draw a conclusion about how to use the tablets?


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How to Teach Your Classroom Rules with STEM

Are you a brag tag user? Or do you have a clip chart? What is your method of working with behavior management? Many years ago I participated in an assertive management class. This was the popular method of classroom behavior management at that time. (Remember "pulling cards"?)

The one thing I learned was that every single thing you want kids to do as far as classroom procedures, must be taught and practiced - in the same way you would teach a reading skill or a math concept.

Amazing.

So, how does this apply to the STEM Lab? Much the same way. We learn procedures and practice them. This year I decided to do this and add a little STEM Challenge to it!

We called it The Rules Challenge!
STEM Challenge for Back to School! Students choose a rule of your classroom and build a structure to model it!


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