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!


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.”

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!

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?


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.


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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