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December 11, 2015 Make a STEM Gingerbread House to Light Up the Night By Christy Crawford
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    My elementary students enjoy tinkering with batteries, lights, motors, and circuits in popular engineering toys like Roominate or in DIY items such as a homemade clock (last month we powered a clock with a lemon!). However, at the end of these tinkering periods, there is disappointment when their creations must remain in school. So in time for the holidays, we created sweet treats that light up. Even kindergartners can take home their creations to show off their knowledge of batteries and engineering!

    There is no gingerbread in these "gingerbread houses" but lots of graham crackers and goodies that surround coin cell batteries tucked in a milk carton. For design inspiration, have engineers check out Martha's Stewart's no-bake houses!

     

    For a class of 25 students, you'll need:

    • 25 CR2016 OR CR2302 3V Lithium Batteries

    • 25 LEDs (Light Emitting Diode)

    • 25 clean, dry, school milk cartons

    • 25 paper plates

    • 3 boxes of graham crackers (We used six cracker halves per student. Break the fragile crackers apart in advance for younger students, and have extras ready!) 

    • 2 cans of frosting 

    • 1 can of decorating icing with tips for fussy engineers

    • Candy and cookies! (M&Ms, gumdrops, licorice, candy canes, Teddy Grahams, powdered sugar or coconut flakes for snow, Hersey's Miniatures for doors, gum sticks for shingles, pretzel sticks for molding) 

    • Paper cups to distribute building materials 

    • Plastic knives 

    • Scotch tape

    • Wet wipes for sticky fingers

     

    1. Start by making windows for the LED. Open and cut a small square on two sides of a clean, dry carton. 

     

     (For younger engineers, outline the LED windows ahead of time.)

     

    2. Straddle the LED legs on each side of the battery. (The longest leg is called an anode and should be placed on the positive side of the battery. The shortest leg is called a cathode and should be placed on the negative side of the battery.)

     

     

    Have kids flip the legs on each side of the battery to discover which combination creates light. Got light? Securely tape the legs to the battery.

     

    3. Securely tape the battery-powered LED inside of the milk carton window. Staple the top of the carton together. 

     

    4. Plop a heaping spoonful of building mortar (frosting) onto the center of each plate.

    5. Smear the sweet mortar on each carton side. Place graham cracker halves on mortar. Decorate the top of each side before placing the roof.

     

    6. Smear mortar on roof and place cracker halves. Decorate!

     

    7. CELEBRATE!

    Kudos to educators Priscilla Otero and Kendra Sibley for their help in creating this STEM edible!

     

     

    As a thank you to my friends, family, and readers, please enjoy 25 percent savings at The Scholastic Store.

     

     

    My elementary students enjoy tinkering with batteries, lights, motors, and circuits in popular engineering toys like Roominate or in DIY items such as a homemade clock (last month we powered a clock with a lemon!). However, at the end of these tinkering periods, there is disappointment when their creations must remain in school. So in time for the holidays, we created sweet treats that light up. Even kindergartners can take home their creations to show off their knowledge of batteries and engineering!

    There is no gingerbread in these "gingerbread houses" but lots of graham crackers and goodies that surround coin cell batteries tucked in a milk carton. For design inspiration, have engineers check out Martha's Stewart's no-bake houses!

     

    For a class of 25 students, you'll need:

    • 25 CR2016 OR CR2302 3V Lithium Batteries

    • 25 LEDs (Light Emitting Diode)

    • 25 clean, dry, school milk cartons

    • 25 paper plates

    • 3 boxes of graham crackers (We used six cracker halves per student. Break the fragile crackers apart in advance for younger students, and have extras ready!) 

    • 2 cans of frosting 

    • 1 can of decorating icing with tips for fussy engineers

    • Candy and cookies! (M&Ms, gumdrops, licorice, candy canes, Teddy Grahams, powdered sugar or coconut flakes for snow, Hersey's Miniatures for doors, gum sticks for shingles, pretzel sticks for molding) 

    • Paper cups to distribute building materials 

    • Plastic knives 

    • Scotch tape

    • Wet wipes for sticky fingers

     

    1. Start by making windows for the LED. Open and cut a small square on two sides of a clean, dry carton. 

     

     (For younger engineers, outline the LED windows ahead of time.)

     

    2. Straddle the LED legs on each side of the battery. (The longest leg is called an anode and should be placed on the positive side of the battery. The shortest leg is called a cathode and should be placed on the negative side of the battery.)

     

     

    Have kids flip the legs on each side of the battery to discover which combination creates light. Got light? Securely tape the legs to the battery.

     

    3. Securely tape the battery-powered LED inside of the milk carton window. Staple the top of the carton together. 

     

    4. Plop a heaping spoonful of building mortar (frosting) onto the center of each plate.

    5. Smear the sweet mortar on each carton side. Place graham cracker halves on mortar. Decorate the top of each side before placing the roof.

     

    6. Smear mortar on roof and place cracker halves. Decorate!

     

    7. CELEBRATE!

    Kudos to educators Priscilla Otero and Kendra Sibley for their help in creating this STEM edible!

     

     

    As a thank you to my friends, family, and readers, please enjoy 25 percent savings at The Scholastic Store.

     

     

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