Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts

We started our landforms unit this week in 2nd grade homeschool (thanks, Corona!).  Guess my landform was super easy to prep for and my 2nd grade LOVED it and begged to play longer.  Here how to play!

What You'll Need

I wasn't kidding when I said this game is VERY low prep.  All you HAVE to have is play-doh.  We also used our landform vocab cards, definitions and photo cards to play as well. (NOTE: these cards are small because I printed them two to a page to save ink and the scale was perfect for the homeschool or small group setting.  

Here's the official list we used...

How To Play

The first thing we did was review our landform names and definitions.  I laid out the landform photo cards and gave Cooper the definition cards.  He read the definitions to me and then laid them on top of the correct photo card.

This would be super easy to do whole group before you play the game as your mini lesson.  The photo cards are all on one page in the landforms unit, so it would be easy to go digital with this review by displaying the one page of photos on your interactive board or in Zoom and reading aloud a definition and asking kids to name the landform using the photos to help.

After we reviewed, we were ready to play.  I laid out the definition cards.  Cooper chose a landform to create.  I set the timer for 2 minutes.  During that 2 minutes, he was expected to decide the landform, and finish building it.  The timer was simply to keep us on track.  You could use this in the classroom by setting a whole group timer, or if you feel like your kids can self-regulate, they could play on their own without a class timer.  My sweetheart can take extra long doing things so we have been wearing our timer out! :)

Once he finished building (before the time was up...yay!), it was my turn to guess what landform he made.  During the guesses, we had to tell what landform it was and use the definition to justify our answer.  Cooper made a volcano first.

And that's it!  We took turns making and guessing the landforms.  It's really that simply.  And engaging!  Because, who doesn't love to play with play-doh??  

This activity and the landform cards can be found with this complete, Next Gen aligned landforms unit.

Landforms Next Generation Science Unit

As I mentioned last week, we are temporarily homeschooling my 2nd grader. #thanksCoVid  So, this year, I'll be blogging about our 2nd grade homeschooling adventures.

Today we finished our first official week!  We've been reading Frog and Toad together during our literacy time.  So today, we did a STEM challenge in honor of Frog and Toad and the #cancelled Olympic Games!

My 7 year old son has been obsessed with folding paper airplanes!  He has this book he got for Christmas and LOVES it!  So, I decided to find a foldable frog we could make as a craft because he also loves to do any kind of crafts.  

When I was looking for an origami book that had a frog in it, I found this one from our local library. (We LOVE that they do curbside pickup right now!)  When I saw it was a *jumping* frog, I knew we had to do a STEM challenge!

That's where the Frog and Toad Origami Games STEM Challenge was born!  SIDE NOTE:  Have you watched any of the marble run games on YouTube?  We have loved those during the CoVid Quarantine and no live sports!  And it was another inspiration for this challenge. :)

We followed the super easy step-by-step directions in the origami book.  And then we added googly eyes!

Then, we were ready to let the games begin!!

Event 1: Frog Races

First, Cooper took sidewalk chalk and drew a *short* track for the frogs to race.  FAIR WARNING: These frogs jump, but not high and not far!  So a short track is best! :)

Then, we took turns racing and timing Frog and Toad.  Frog went first!

We recorded our times on the recording sheet and each took 2 tries to race.

Event 2: Frog Hurdles

For the next event, we used bendy straws to make 3 hurdles.  Because our frogs didn't jump as high, we made an easy, medium and hard hurdle!

Frog and Toad each got two tries to jump each hurdle.  Toad only jumped the easies hurdle once, but Frog jumped the easy AND the hardest hurdle. (Frog had help from the wind!)

But neither Frog, nor Toad, made it over the medium hurdle!

Event 3: Long Jump

Last, we set up our long jump event.  Because our frogs jump on a smaller scale, we made a smaller scale long jump area.

Frog jumped 5 lines, but Toad only got 1 line for his farthest jump! :)

You can find all of our literacy lesson plans and STEM challenge plans and pages here!

Have you ever thought about using STEM challenges to teach your Bible lessons?  I love using STEM at church in my Sunday School class!

Today, let's talk about the Drink the Water challenge we used with the Gideon Bible story with kindergartners!

What You'll Need

My favorite STEM challenges are ones you can do with things you have lying around the house or classroom!  This one is no different.  All you need for this Gideon Bible story STEM challenge is...
  • A bowl
  • A large cookie sheet for overspill
  • Water
  • (adorable kid not included... :) )

You will need as many bowls/sheets as you have kids that will participate.  Not all kids have to participate, but it is not a challenge they can take turns trying....Once they figure it out, there is no point in continuing to try! :)

Before the challenge starts, you will fill the bowl(s) with water and put a cookie sheet underneath it.  Another option is to take this challenge outside so you don't have to worry about spilling water!

Drink the Water Challenge

Once you are prepped and ready, the Gideon Bible story STEM challenge is simple: The kids must drink the water in the bowl without touching the bowl. (They can't pick it up or tip it.)

You time them for 1 minute and see who can drink the most water!

My guy had fun testing out different strategies!

After the challenge, share the strategies and which were the most efficient.  Why were they efficient?

Many of my Bible STEM challenges are designed to do after the Bible story, but this one is important to do BEFORE you even introduce the story in case kids are already familiar with Gideon and how God told him to choose his army.  Since the Gideon Bible story actually tells the ways the men drank the water, it would be pointless! ;)

You can find the Gideon & Deborah kindergarten unit on courage here.

Thanks to almost two weeks in quarantine, we tried out our own "Chalk Your Walk" project earlier this week!  We had seen pictures shared on facebook with ideas and I was even invited to join a local group about this so I knew we had to try it!

Little did I know we would end up with the PERFECT first grade shapes lesson right at the start of Spring Break!  This activity is great for practicing shapes at home during this time of social distancing or in the summer! Here's how we joined the trend and learned quite a bit of math skills all in the name of "Chalk Your Walk" fun!

The designs I had seen online showed coloring in an entire sidewalk with a mosaic, stained glass design.  But before we conquered that, I wanted us to try something smaller on the driveway.  Cooper wanted to do a shark (of course!), so we got busy!

First, we taped off the outline of the shark.  The shared pictures online showed using painters tape.  But we didn't have any one inch painters tape, so we tried out washi tape because I have an ENDLESS supply of it that was given to us.  Washi tape worked just fine (but probably more expensive if you don't already have a ton on hand you need to use up).

Then, we divided his fins and tail with tape.  And then we filled in the large part by dividing the shark into two parts on the diagonal.  From there, we simply started adding taped lines to make shapes!  For preschoolers and kinders, this would be a great time to have them name the shapes you are taping off as you go.  You could even have them touch the "side" of the triangle or a "vertex" of the shape.

And that's when I realized we were hitting some first grade math standards with this!  I taped off a huge triangle in our shark.

Then, I had Cooper grab his washi tape and decompose my big triangle into smaller shapes.  We actually used that language.  I said, "Take your tape and decompose my triangle into smaller shapes...I can't wait to figure out how you decompose it!"  It may be hard to tell, but first he decomposed the bigger triangle into 2 right triangles.  He said, "Look, Mom!  I turned it into 2 smaller triangles."  So, I reinforced our math language and said, "Yes! You decomposed my bigger triangle into two right triangles!"  Within minutes he was using the words compose and decompose too!

Once we finished decomposing, we got to coloring!

We each used a different color and colored five shapes that same color before we switched colors, but obviously, you can color however you want to!

Once we finished coloring, it was time to remove the washi tape!

I just LOVE how our little shark turned out!

This is the perfect quarantine math shape lesson or summer time math lesson!  But you can easily do this in the classroom too!  Just use some washi tape and crayons and do the same thing!  Then, have your first graders write about how they decomposed their shape!  

Find the activity here with 6 shape options!

I love integrating STEM challenges into science units!  This pollinator STEM challenge is a great way to integrate STEM with ecosystems in second grade!

This project comes after our study of how organisms within an ecosystem depend on each other.

First, we read the problem digital slide about Farmer Dave and his need for an efficient pollinator.  Then, we brainstormed ideas for how to build a pollinator model to solve this problem.

To prep this challenge, I got the materials listed on the planning page.  (There is also a blank planning page so you can add your own materials.)

Once the plan was made, we were ready to build!  We built a simple bug from pompoms and pipe cleaners.  It kinda reminds me of an ant on a stick! :)   We also prepped the flowerbed ecosystem by using cupcake liners and coffee grounds and cornmeal.

Once the "flowerbed" was prepped we were ready to test out our model.  We practiced "pollinating" by dipping our bug into the cornmeal and then the coffee grounds.  We went back and forth a few times.

If you look closely in the cornmeal, you can see where the coffee grounds mixed in!

This was clearly a successful pollination!  Mixed pollen in both flowers and pollen all over our bug!

Finally, we wrote about our model pollinator and brainstormed ways to improve it!

You can find this STEM challenge separately here and with more activities on ecosystems and interdependence for 2nd grade in this Ecosystems Unit.

In kindergarten, students learn about force and motion through the Next Gen Science Standards.  And what better way to explore force and motion than through building rollercoasters?
{this blog post contains affiliate links to support my chocolate addiction and my little corner of cyber space}

Kindergarten STEM is tricky.  We want them to build and explore, but often times they don't have enough experience to build complicated things from scratch.

So, when Cooper and I tested out this coaster challenge, I knew his Marble Run set would be the perfect way to make this challenge more accessible for my kindergartner.

I read the problem slide to him.  And then he planed out his idea.

We just orally talked about his plan.  And then he got to work building his coaster.

It was a lot of fun to watch his brain and problem solving skills work.  Sometimes, the ball stopped its motion.  So he had to redirect it or turn the slides a different way.

In this picture below, the ball kept falling to the ground after it left the orange twist.  He couldn't connect anything else to it, so he rearranged the pieces so that the green piece would just sit underneath the orange twist and "catch" the marble so it would stay in motion on the coaster!

I absolutely loved the process my guy had to go through with this project.  It was true STEM with build, test, improve, build, test, improve....but with premade materials.  That simple scaffold made the critical pieces of STEM accessible to my kinder kid while still encouraging high level critical thinking skills!

In the classroom, I might limit groups to 10 pieces to build a coaster, but at home with one kid, I was able to be more flexible.  And, of course, my kid wanted to use every. single. piece. :)  Here is his finished coaster.

And the video of how it worked!

After he finished building and testing his coaster, we wrote about his coaster using the publishing page from the unit with the sentence stems.

Finally, he drew the path of his coaster to finish publishing his project!

You can find this STEM challenge separately here or in this Kindergarten Next Gen Science Unit on Force and Motion.

We have been talking second grade science!  Specifically, we'll chat about the Next Gen standards on landforms and how to implement hands on activities, science labs, and STEM challenges while learning about Earth's surface.  You can catch up on all of the blog posts here:

Maybe it's because it's summer here right now.  Maybe it's because I haven't been to the beach in five years.  Or maybe it's because the kid in me just loves sandcastles.

No matter what the reason, I knew this sandcastle stem project had to be a part of our landforms unit as soon as I discovered this book by Robert Munsch during my research!

Here's a closer look into our sandcastle erosion STEM challenge for 2nd graders!
(This post contains affiliate links to help  fund my chocolate addiction and support this corner of cyber space)

What's the Problem?

We start by reading The Tide Is Coming In.  This is a simple book with great vocabulary and frames the sandcastle problem perfectly!  The ending is very open ended and leaves a good opportunity for students to hypothesize about what happened to the sandcastle!

Then, I read the scenario on our problem slide we use for our STEM projects and challenges.

We brainstorm ideas within our partners or groups for how to solve Pat's problem.  Then, it's time to make a plan!

Planning the Solution

During the planning phase, we work to talk out our solution.  What will it look like? Why do you think it will work?  How will you build it?  Will there be any problems with it?  

Our guiding questions are on our plan slide along with pictures of materials to spark their thinking and ideas.

Once they have talked through their plan, they come get the planning page.  Here they will write down how their plan will protect the sandcastle.  They will list out the materials they need and sketch a picture of their solution.
NOTE: I tried this out with my almost 6 year old, so his answers are obviously simpler than most second grade answers or written responses would be! :)

Build the Solution

On the second day of this Sandcastle STEM Challenge, students will collect the materials they need and begin building their solution.

To prep for this day, you will want to put a "sandcastle" (a cup of sand) in a foil pan with some sand around it.  Students will be building their solution in relation to the sandcastle inside their foil pan.

While they are building, you will need to actively walk around and continue asking the planning questions to keep them on track and focused on solving the problem.

I would definitely recommend setting a timer for this to keep them focused and to make sure too much instruction time isn't lost here.

Share and Publish

The third day is all about sharing their solution and testing them out to see if they work.  Because the solutions are all in foil pans, students can easily bring their pan in front of the class and talk through their solution.  The share slide gives the questions students will answer during their presentation: How does your plan protect Pat's sandcastle?  How did you build it? Does your plan work?  

When it's time for the last question, it's time to test out the solution!  I get a pitcher of water and fill the pan with "ocean water."  Then, the group sloshes the water to mimic ocean waves.  They must slosh it 10 times.  After 10 times, they stop and we observe to see if their solution worked and talk about why it did or didn't work.

During our writing time, we publish our solution and reflect on how well our solution worked, how we could improve it and by drawing our final solution.

This STEM challenge can be found separately here and with more landform activities in this Next Gen Landforms unit.
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