Monday, July 31, 2017

Back to School STEM Challenge

The start of the school year is my favorite time of year. Everything is new. The students are with a different group of peers and everyone is getting to know each other. It's a great time for me, the teacher, to observe my class and the student dynamics. I've found that I get the best feel for my class by assigning group projects on those first few days of school.  Group projects are great because the students have to collaborate with one another. While they are working, I can see which of my students are leaders, rule followers, creative thinkers, and which students need an extra push. 

Science is my absolute favorite subject to teach. I love the hands on learning opportunities science gives my students. So the back to school projects in my classroom have a STEM focus.  My Back to School STEM Activities Set has three of my favorite STEM challenges perfect for the beginning of the school year. 

This set includes three STEM challenges. Each challenge has a teacher directions page, student planning sheet, and a student directions page that you can print for each group or easily display on your Smart Board. This pack also includes STEM group work task cards. 

These cards assign each group member a specific task while completing each challenge. These cards are optional, but they help keep reluctant students engaged. 

There are only a few budget friendly supplies needed for each challenge and setting up each activity is super easy. All you need to do is print our a few papers and you are good to go!

Each challenge has a student directions page, student planning sheet, and STEM work task cards.

The STEM group work task cards can be used for any STEM activity you do in your classroom. I would recommend laminating the cards once you print them so you can use them throughout the school year. 

I like to keep each group's STEM cards in a Ziploc bag so they are ready for any STEM activity. I also like to use a sharpie and write the group number on the bottom right hand corner of each card. STEM challenges have the students moving around the classroom and sometimes the cards get mixed up. I have found that this makes life much easier when it comes time to clean up.

I like to have each challenge prepped with all of the supplies ready to go before each school day. When I get the supplies ready, I like to give each group a copy of the challenge direction sheet, a set of STEM group work task cards, a planning sheet for each student, and all of the extra supplies they need for the activity.  I found these awesome $3 trays at Target in Bullseye's Playground and they are perfect for holding all of the supplies you will need for each challenge. 

Once you have everything prepped, you are good to go! You can observe your students, and learn about your class while keeping them engaged with fun STEM challenges.