Showing posts from January, 2015

STEM: Building Activities for K-2

Since starting my Early Childhood Education STEM Enrichment Program, and going through the first 4 weeks, I have decided to create some STEM packets that tie into ELA, Math and Next Generation Science Standards. After talking with teachers at the schools I work at, I was able to take a few of the texts that are commonly used in K-2 in my district. Using that knowledge, I set about creating packets that teachers could easily use in conjunction with the literature that are differentiated and include student self assessments.
This is a great hands on unit for K-2 students that is aligned with ELA & Math CCSS, and Next Generation Science Standards for Engineering & Design. Students will read the story Peter Rabbit, and be challenged to use specific materials to build a trap to catch Peter Rabbit.
***Please note that additional materials are needed for this activity***
String, white glue, straws, popsicle sticks, scissors, masking tape or duct tape.

This packet includes:
Cover Page

Early Childhood STEM Enrichment Program: Week 4

Week 4: Paper Structures Part 2
Objective: Students will work in teams of 3 to design and build a structure from the provided materials, and then test it to hold weight.

This week the students would have to finish working on their paper structures and make final adjustments. Then the students would submit their structures for weight testing. Finally they would provide me with feedback from the first 4 weeks of the program, the Civil Engineering Unit.

Here are the documents that they completed for their portfolio.

Here are the structures upon completion. This one is Structure #1.

This one is Structure #2.

This one is Structure #3. This team decided at the beginning of Week 4 to change their whole design, and ripped apart what they had built in Week 3.

Then we went about testing the structures.
Here is the test for Structure #1, made by three 1st grade students. (2 part video)
Part 1

Part 2

Early Childhood STEM Enrichment Program: Week 3

Week 3: Paper Structures Part 1
Objective: Students will work in teams of 3 to design and build a structure from the provided materials, and then test it to hold weight.

This week the students would have to work collaboratively in teams of 3 in order to design and build a structure that could hold weight. We began the lesson with a PowerPoint presentation that discussed the following information:
What are some structures we remember seeing from Week 1?What shapes do we see most often in structures?Samples of different structures from Week 1.Different materials used to build a structure and why?Video from YouTube: Conducting test of strength of weak materials using different 3D shapes.Directions and materials for the activity (similar to the page below for the portfolio). Since this was a 2 part activity/lesson, next week we will finish constructing our structures, test them with weight, and then do a Unit feedback relating to everything we did in Engineering.

Here was the pre-activity s…

STEM Engineering: Beach Ball Towers

Part of my job is coaching other teachers in "gifted" education, which is just another way of explaining deeper levels of understanding and stronger differentiation aligned with best practice methods for all students. The other part of my job is working with identified gifted students (based on district testing), mainly 3rd-5th graders. As part of the gifted curriculum, my students are working on "Thinking Like a Disciplinarian", and our current unit is Engineering.
Today we tried a new unit that I like to call "Beach Ball Towers". They have had some previous experience building structures from other materials, and these units are leading towards building prosthetic limbs as Biomedical Engineers. This is based on the principles of STEM education, where the students are given a task and specific materials to accomplish that task. They must work in groups (I had 4 students per group) to design their tower and then build it. Here are the guidelines for this…