All You Need is Sunshine and Chocolate!

Every year I repeat certain STEM Challenges! Which ones do we repeat? Why, the ones we love the best, of course!

Fourth graders always try Roller Coasters, fifth graders always try Catapults, and third graders always try Building Boats. Those three challenges are amazing and definitely are kid favorites.

In the month of April, we have three Earth related challenges we always repeat. Fifth graders build Water Pipelines and fourth graders build Earthquake Resistant Structures.

My third graders build Solar Ovens!

STEM Challenges for elementary students! Students will experiment with heat-resistant materials and then use their test results to design the best oven possible. This is so exciting as they troop outside to test the materials, record the temperatures of the ovens, & choose the materials to design the best oven. Finally, they put together a chocolate treat and use the sun to help cook the item.  This STEM resource includes detailed teacher directions, photos, lab sheets, and rubrics.

So Many Ways to Create an Earthquake!

Do you have favorite STEM Challenges? We sure do!

We love the Roller Coaster Challenge and the Pancake Challenge. But we also love the three challenges that created the Earth Series bundle.

This post will focus on only the Earthquake Structures. The other two challenges in the Earth Series will be featured soon! Trust me! Your kids will love these three challenges, too!

STEM Challenges for elementary students! Students will design and build a structure to withstand a simulated earthquake. Photos of ways to build the shake tray are included. Kids use only a few materials that are easy to gather for the teacher and will be fun for kids to use in your classroom. The building of the structure and then testing it on your shake tray are so much fun. This STEM resource includes detailed teacher directions, photos, lab sheets, and rubrics.


Craft Sticks for the Win with an Amazing Challenge

We have a waterpark in our town and because of this, it is really easy to talk about platforms. The Olympic sized pool has a three-tiered diving platform. In fact, many years ago an Olympic diver came to our town to use the pool and diving platform to train for the Olympics- where she eventually won a gold medal!

To set this challenge up we talk about the platform and also the lifeguard chairs. This gives the kids a great visual of what they are building. 

The rules of our STEM challenge are simple- build a platform that holds weight- which is something they love to do! Testing structures to see if they hold weight is super fun! Take a look!

STEM Challenges for elementary school students! This challenge is so versatile. With older students try building the craft stick platform using hot glue. With younger students use masking tape. The platform has a height requirement and must hold weight. Bring STEM into your upper elementary class with this simple two material challenge. The resource includes detailed instructions with several versions described. Photos, lab sheets, answer samples, and editable forms are provided!

Can you Find the Area of Your Home Sweet Home?

Do you have a fabulous way to get students to remember the difference between area and perimeter? 

If you are like me you know all the tricks! But, if you still need some ideas, stick with this post- especially because there's a free activity hidden in it somewhere!

STEM Math Challenge FREEBIE! Students design their Home Sweet Home using grid paper and a set of rules. They must have 15 rooms and calculate the area of each as they draw. In the end, they calculate the total cost of the home! Using the total square units they use a predetermined number to find the home's cost. The forms are editable! This FREE resource helps students practice finding area, addition, multiplication, and more!

Are You Choosing to be a Reader?

Some months when I read a set of books I will see a common theme. I don't usually plan for that to happen. This month was one of those months.

A theme developed accidentally. See if you can decide what it is ( and I will tell you later)!
Monthly Book Reviews- Each month I review five books and present summaries for you! These are books I can recommend! My reviews will give you reasons to try the book and enough information to make you interested in reading, but not give the story away! Enjoy!


How to Create a Foosball Frenzy in STEM

I still remember playing foosball when I was a teenager. We lived overseas, in Germany. I was an Army kid! Yep, grew up in Germany where we lived on an Army base, went to American schools, and all of us were from the states.

I could write a whole blog post on what it meant to grow up in that culture... but today we are talking all about foosball!

This one was just amazingly fun! And, it's going to be fun for you too- especially because there is a freebie involved! Take a look!

STEM Foosball! This challenge will have students building a foosball model that has two teams trying to kick a ball or marble. Students create the foosball players, design the format of the players, and add details to make the set fun. Let the competitions begin!


Bulletin Board Bonanza!

If you join me here very often you know I love three things- STEM, Reading, and...


That's right. I love creating bulletin board displays. Here are some of my latest creations!

Science Bulletin Boards! Templates for four boards with great ideas for elementary science displays and projects for classroom teachers. Images are included to customize your boards by printing letters and designing your own displays. Easy and fun ideas to add a science bulletin board to your classroom!

Those little square boards are just too much fun!


Fun Ways to Celebrate Winter Sports

About two weeks ago a group of fifth graders asked me when we would be doing another Quest.

They actually cheered when I told them I was working on a new one. This one was actually inspired by a family trip to Crested Butte during Christmas break. I started thinking about a STEM challenge while riding a lift to the top of the mountain and BAM this Quest and Challenge were born!

It's based on all the sporting events that happen during the winter and also has a little inspiration from the upcoming sports celebrations in South Korea.
STEM Quest- It's an Unlock the Box event featuring Winter Sports and it includes a STEM Challenge!


Secrets and Page-Turners To Keep You Reading

A book with a secret you say? Can you guess what is going to happen? How often are you right?

This month's selection kept me reading just trying to get to the good parts! I know you understand. Some books just keep you hanging and you know the secret is coming, but when and how is another thing. I guess these are called page-turners....

or secret-keepers...

Whatever you call this writing style we can all agree that we love it!

Hearts for You This February!

So, are you one of those classroom teachers that will have kids make a Valentine's Day box for their party goodies? I will admit I was one of those.... until a parent sweetly let me know how much she hated it.

It was ultimately a contest to see which students would have the most creative box and, boy, there were some cute ones. And there were some recycled ones! I had a different parent tell me she saved boxes from one year to the next and just touched them up a bit and the kids had a box.

So, what is my point? Have you ever thought about doing a STEM Challenge instead? What if you had moms send in some Valentine candy and decorative items to complete these projects? I think the moms would be sooooo happy!

STEM Challenges for Valentine's Day! Build a Delivery Zip Line, Build a Candy Box, and Build a working Bow and Arrow.


18 Reasons to Try STEM in 2018-PART 2

I read an article a little while back that gave advice about writing blog post titles. One suggestion was to try using numbers. Well, maybe not the number 18.

Nevertheless, it is 2018 and 18 seemed like the perfect number. I also felt pretty certain I could think of 18 reasons you should try STEM!

The big reveal today will be reasons numbered 10-18. If you missed last week's post you should also read it to see what's going on with reasons 1-9! (Links for many things will appear at the end of this post!)


18 Reasons to Try STEM in 2018-PART 1

A few years ago I switched from a regular classroom to the STEM Lab! I had no idea what I was going to do with this new job. I had no curriculum, no resources, no textbooks... nothing.

It was, to say the least, daunting and quite scary.

But, I believe in hands-on learning and inquiry-based, student-driven activities, and I knew we could make this work.

Wow. That is an understatement. It works. It's fabulous. Kids love it and I am having a blast.

So, let's see if I can convince you to try STEM in 2018- because I thought of at least 18 reasons that you should! This is Part 1- only half of the reasons! Check back next week for Part 2!

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