Sunday, December 25, 2016

STEM K-8 style

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, we decided to have an all-school STEM day every week.  We wanted have multi-grade groups work together on different projects. We thought it would be great to enhance our "community" feel by having the kids spend time together in an organized, educational program. Because I have a huge amount of pins on my Pinterest pages, I knew that what we needed was just a click and search away. Off to one of my STEM pages (I have two) I went and started picking out activities that would work well with the broad range of ages. I picked out a few fun activities, divided the kids up in mult-age groups and collected my supplies. After a talk with my older students about including the little ones in everything, we were ready to go.

Because we get out early on Fridays, we decided the last hour and a half would be the perfect time for our trial.  I chose to start with activities that involved craft sticks because I already had a lot of them.  We put all the supplies, craft sticks, rubberbands, plastic spoons and pompoms in plastic bags-one bag per group.

The first act of the first day was to chose groups, placing the younger students with the older students. Then, we passed out packages for each group. This day was capapault day!

Intense work and fun combined to make the first day a huge success. As the leader, I came away with a realization that being totally prepared was absolutely a must. Thirty-three kids in one room takes patience and total-did I mention total- organization.

We met in the gym. Expectations for the project were given and the kids were allowed to go off to a spot anywhere in the room that there was no group. They spent the next hour figuring out how to build a catapault and then had fun using them. The catapaults were refined so they could shoot farther, higher and-well, just better.

This is what it looks like:

Notice how focused they are as they work. To group, we drew names and these two gentlemen were excited to get to work together. Not everyone was placed with their best friends, but they all had a wonderful experience. Friendships also developed between the older and younger students that were stronger than ever.

The hardest part was getting them to realize that, even though we were in the gym, they could not run and scream when they needed to move about, but they eventually figured it out with a little help from the teachers. The easiest part was keeping them involved once it began. They made their capapaults and then we used them to aim at targets. We also tested them to see whose catapault would shoot the ammuntion the farthest. The day ended well; the kids were excited to do it again the next week.

When we went back to our room for dismissal, there were happy smiled everywhere. We decided the activity was a definite keeper.

No comments:

Post a Comment