Tied 2 Teaching provides a great break from boring textbooks with their STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading!
It includes 61 STEM challenges, which is more than enough for an entire school or calendar year. Many of the activities are seasonal, so they would make a great addition to any unit. However, there are activities that can be done year round.
In each challenge pack, there is a list of materials that you will need to complete the challenge. I appreciated that all of the materials were things that you would already have, so there was no need to purchase any additional supplies.
What’s Inside a Challenge:
Design Challenge Overview
Reading Passage Link
Student Worksheets to plan their design (multiple formats so choose the one that works best for you)
Student Reflection Sheets
How we did the challenges:
Since my children range in ages from K-4th, I chose the activities that all of my children could enjoy. After going through the list, we chose the following four fun challenges.
Challenge 1: Build a Foil Boat
Of course since this challenge used water, I knew it was going to be a hit. This activity was very easy since all we needed was aluminum foil. Although it seemed simple, my children really had to think about ways to create their boat using the foil. We actually tested our boats in the bathtub to determine if they would float. I appreciated the planning sheet since it allowed my children to really think about their design before actually building. Since there are multiple formats of planning sheets, they are adaptable for multiple age groups.
Challenge 2: Design a Building Block Structure
This activity was easy and fun to do for all of my children. We used larger blocks and my children enjoyed building the tallest tower they could. I added a math component by having my children count how many bocks they used in the challenge. For my fourth grader, I had her read the passage and complete the comprehension questions. She was very interested in the website that was linked since it has many interesting reading passages about a variety of topics.
Challenge 3: Design a House of Cards
The house of cards challenge was an actual competition in my home. My children split into partners to design their house of cards. First they used the planning sheets to decide how they wanted to build their house. Then afterwards we talked about their designs and they thought about how they could have made it better. The included reflection sheets helps children extend their learning by reviewing their design.
Challenge 4: Design a Pencil Tower
This was a new challenge to me. My children love to make towers, but I had never heard of a pencil tower. We used unsharpened pencils for this one, but I think it can also be used with crayons if needed.
My children really liked the variety of challenges that were available in the bundle. I think that they can really be used all year, since your child can go back and make their designs better. STEM is everywhere now, and these fun challenges will stretch your child’s imagination and get them more interested in Science. With the added reading passages, these activities can easily be integrated into any curriculum.
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