Books Can Make You Happy

This month's selections don't have a common thread at all. They were all so good, however, so I guess that might be the theme. Just good books!

These five books have friends attacking their bucket list, children being sold, people spending millions of dollars in one shopping trip, a supernatural thriller, and a story about a boy that wants to be a girl.

Five book reviews on this post- all 5 star books for me. See which one is your favorite!

Earth Day: Here's Why It's the Best Day Ever!

Celebrating this great earth of ours is such a fun thing to think about- especially in a STEM classroom! 

We have so many activities we do in preparation for Earth Day in April- but really a lot of these projects will work all year long!

Join me with this post as we explore why Earth Day projects can make the best day ever happen in your classroom, too!

Let's get you ready for Earth Day, or springtime, or any time you are ready to study landforms and the earth. This post includes Escape Rooms, Reading resources, STEM Challenges, and tips for preparing for these events.


4 Things to Avoid with the Robotic Hand Challenge

So much Fun!  My students were a little skeptical when I started talking about this challenge.

Turns out- they loved it! (I think their skepticism was in not understanding what we were building!)

And then they learned so much. That's a win-win for me (and for them). So, as always, let me share a few things- especially four things to absolutely avoid when you try this.

Need a real-life STEM engineering task? How about creating a model of a robotic hand? Have a quick discussion about how the hand works and then design a model. This challenge features choosing from several different materials for the hand and then creating fingers that lift and lower. The resource includes lab sheets, a scoring rubric, and photos and tips to make this successful for your students! #STEM #elementary


Sailing Away with Sailboats in the STEM Lab!

I never could have predicted how much STEM kids love to make boats. Building boats is one of the first projects we tackled a few years ago and they loved it so much.

But, the boats we built were not sailboats. That didn't seem to matter to some of the groups, however. They built a mast and sail anyway.

That got me to thinking.... could we try sailboats? What would make them move?

STEM Challenge: Build a sailboat that will float and travel with the wind!


Toothpick Towers Tips and Tricks

This challenge, with only two materials, is the best ever.

Yes, you have heard me say that many times, but this time I mean it.

It is fun. It is hard. Really hard. And the kids want it to work so much. They persevere. They start over. They never give up.

It's pretty perfect. 

It's the great Toothpick Tower Challenge!

The perfect STEM Challenge- kids love it and it only uses two materials! It's the great Toothpick Tower. You have choices of two different building materials to use with toothpicks. Kids are very innovative about joining the parts together and you will love watching them. The resource comes with a detailed teacher's guide, lab sheets, and a scoring rubric! #STEM #elementary


Animal Adaptations Resources Round-Up

Did you know that there are spiders that can totally immerse themselves in the pollen-covered center of a flower and there they will lay- just waiting for a flying insect to stop by to sip some nectar? And then, without much movement at all, the spider catches some dinner!

Totally fascinating! And it's all about animal adaptations. We learned so much recently with our latest challenges and Escape Room!

It's all animal adaptations! This post features several resources that will complement your study of animals. The first is an Escape Room and then the STEM challenge inspired by a picture book about animals. You will also see a reading comprehension resource that includes 4 reading passages with questions and a mock-up of a newspaper about animals. There are 3 graphic organizers for the newspaper. Last, create an Animal Adaptation booklet with a study of non-fiction text features! #STEM #animals

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