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March 27, 2018

A Genius Way to Bring STEM Activities Into Your Classroom

By Genia Connell
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    For years, I’ve embraced everything having to do with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) for enriching my students’ learning. I love adding well thought-out, challenging STEM activities to my science units. The truth, however, is that creating challenges for my students can be time-consuming and, depending on the task, expensive.

    Always looking for ways to streamline my lesson-planning time, my curiosity was piqued when I saw Scholastic was offering a kit of STEM resources that were ready-to-go and user-friendly. Once I saw what topics the kit covered for my grade level in SuperScience STEM Instant Activities, I was sold!

    To tell you how easy the kit is to use, my students completed the first activity less than 24 hours after the kit’s shrink-wrap was removed. This week, I’m excited to share with you what I’ve discovered using the kit geared for grades 1–3.

    What I Love About My STEM Kit:

    Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences are covered. As soon as I opened the kit I noticed STEM activities were perfectly aligned with what we teach in third grade and to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In addition to using the third-grade topics, I’m also planning to use some of the other included STEM activities to both review concepts taught in earlier grades, and to build background knowledge for topics I know they’ll cover in fourth and fifth grades.

    Videos: For each topic there is a short, engaging video that is perfect for starting a conversation about the science involved.

    Task Cards: Each topic is housed in a sturdy folder that includes five heavy-duty laminated task cards. These include all the materials each small group will need. Each card has two different tasks included, one on the front and one on the back. The first task exposes students to a particular science concept while the second task requires students to take what they learned and apply it to engineer, invent, or create a different outcome. The directions on the task cards are easy to follow, so my students can take on each challenge with minimal adult support needed.

    Each task card includes the eight essential science and engineering practices identified by the NGSS:

    • Asking questions and defining problems
    • Developing and using models
    • Planning and carrying out investigations
    • Analyzing and interpreting data
    • Using mathematics and computational thinking
    • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
    • Engaging in argument from evidence
    • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

    Online resources: In addition to what is in the kit, there are many online resources available that I can pin to or project on my interactive whiteboard, including additional charts and activities.

     

    Easy to Modify: I’ve been able to easily adapt the investigations when I don’t have specific materials on hand. For example, I didn’t have five empty cereal boxes lying around for the Forces investigations, so I simply substituted the lids from our copy paper boxes to serve as paper boxes!

     

    Timesaving and affordable: While I’m a well-known cheapskate, I felt the price of the kit was well-worth what it costs for so many activities, videos, and additional online resources. I know I would have spent hours and hours creating my own multi-faceted challenges. Packaged in a sturdy organizer, it’s super easy to share my kit with my grade-level partner so her third graders can work on the activities as well.

     

    My kids love them! The best part of these ready-to go STEM activities may just be how much my students love them. After we tried our first activity, they immediately began asking when we were going to do the next. We’ve been incorporating them frequently into science centers and they are the favorite center to visit every time.

     

     

    If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get your kids involved in STEM, this just may be the best way I know to start. The SuperScience STEM Instant Activities Kits are also available for grades 4–6.

     

    Check out some of my own STEM activities on Scholastic:

    "Candy Catapult STEM Challenge"

     

    "Cupful of Valentine Fun STEM Challenge"

     

    "STEM Challenge: Sink or Float Candies"

    Take care and thanks for reading!

    Genia Connell

     

    For years, I’ve embraced everything having to do with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) for enriching my students’ learning. I love adding well thought-out, challenging STEM activities to my science units. The truth, however, is that creating challenges for my students can be time-consuming and, depending on the task, expensive.

    Always looking for ways to streamline my lesson-planning time, my curiosity was piqued when I saw Scholastic was offering a kit of STEM resources that were ready-to-go and user-friendly. Once I saw what topics the kit covered for my grade level in SuperScience STEM Instant Activities, I was sold!

    To tell you how easy the kit is to use, my students completed the first activity less than 24 hours after the kit’s shrink-wrap was removed. This week, I’m excited to share with you what I’ve discovered using the kit geared for grades 1–3.

    What I Love About My STEM Kit:

    Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences are covered. As soon as I opened the kit I noticed STEM activities were perfectly aligned with what we teach in third grade and to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In addition to using the third-grade topics, I’m also planning to use some of the other included STEM activities to both review concepts taught in earlier grades, and to build background knowledge for topics I know they’ll cover in fourth and fifth grades.

    Videos: For each topic there is a short, engaging video that is perfect for starting a conversation about the science involved.

    Task Cards: Each topic is housed in a sturdy folder that includes five heavy-duty laminated task cards. These include all the materials each small group will need. Each card has two different tasks included, one on the front and one on the back. The first task exposes students to a particular science concept while the second task requires students to take what they learned and apply it to engineer, invent, or create a different outcome. The directions on the task cards are easy to follow, so my students can take on each challenge with minimal adult support needed.

    Each task card includes the eight essential science and engineering practices identified by the NGSS:

    • Asking questions and defining problems
    • Developing and using models
    • Planning and carrying out investigations
    • Analyzing and interpreting data
    • Using mathematics and computational thinking
    • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
    • Engaging in argument from evidence
    • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

    Online resources: In addition to what is in the kit, there are many online resources available that I can pin to or project on my interactive whiteboard, including additional charts and activities.

     

    Easy to Modify: I’ve been able to easily adapt the investigations when I don’t have specific materials on hand. For example, I didn’t have five empty cereal boxes lying around for the Forces investigations, so I simply substituted the lids from our copy paper boxes to serve as paper boxes!

     

    Timesaving and affordable: While I’m a well-known cheapskate, I felt the price of the kit was well-worth what it costs for so many activities, videos, and additional online resources. I know I would have spent hours and hours creating my own multi-faceted challenges. Packaged in a sturdy organizer, it’s super easy to share my kit with my grade-level partner so her third graders can work on the activities as well.

     

    My kids love them! The best part of these ready-to go STEM activities may just be how much my students love them. After we tried our first activity, they immediately began asking when we were going to do the next. We’ve been incorporating them frequently into science centers and they are the favorite center to visit every time.

     

     

    If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get your kids involved in STEM, this just may be the best way I know to start. The SuperScience STEM Instant Activities Kits are also available for grades 4–6.

     

    Check out some of my own STEM activities on Scholastic:

    "Candy Catapult STEM Challenge"

     

    "Cupful of Valentine Fun STEM Challenge"

     

    "STEM Challenge: Sink or Float Candies"

    Take care and thanks for reading!

    Genia Connell

     

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