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July 5, 2017

Full STEAM Ahead: Lessons to Kick Off the School Year

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades 3–5

    I recently had a conversation with some teachers who are beginning to shy away from their read-alouds because they feel there is not enough STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) connections within them. I have tips to extend these classroom favorites to include engaging STEAM activities for students.

    Read on to find some STEAM activities to pair with four favorite read-aloud books. Now’s a good time to get your book bins and materials in place so you will be ready when school gets back in session.

    Oh, the Places You’ll Go

    STEAM Thread — Science: Air Resistance

    After reading the story, engage your students in a science lesson all about air resistance, including a fun activity where they make their own parachute. Using small paper products (coffee filters, a small plastic bag, tissue paper), a variety of string (yarn, dental floss, kite string), and cups, students will design parachutes and test the air resistance of them when dropping them from a high place.

    Scholastic has a short article on aerodynamics, drag and lift, and more. Read this as a whole class and have students take notes that can be applied to their parachute design.

    I created slide show presentations that can be used as a whole class lesson plan. The slides can be saved and do not have to be used all in one day. Break it up into segments in a way that works for your students’ learning. To access the "Challenge" slide shows, just click on the images.

     

    Scholastic Movement Lesson

    Want to extend your STEAM lesson to playground and outdoor activities? Check out these links to two great Scholastic resources that are classroom ready!

    Here's a great Parachute Toss activity you can adapt to any grade level.

    Make your outdoor space a fun learning place with these ideas to incorporate physics on the playground.

    Art/Writing

    Design a hot air balloon and have students write about all of the places they will go this year!

    Using this balloon template, have students cut along the bold curved lines then design the hot air balloon with an art medium of your choice. We used crayons and colored pencils.

    Have students write about all of the places they will go and attach the writing to the image. Add a photo of the student to each balloon picture.

     

    A Box Can Be Many Things

    STEAM Thread — Engineering

    Prior to teaching this lesson, send an email to the students’ families requesting empty boxes. I used any size box, but you could request a specific size, such as a shoebox or empty tissue box.

    Read the book as a whole-class activity. Following the read-aloud, discuss imagination and pretending. Let the class know that you are going to read the book again, only this time you’d like volunteers to raise their hands and share what they would turn the box into.

    After shared reading has occurred, invite students to brainstorm on a piece of paper or in a writing notebook all of the things they would turn the box into and why. Let students know that this is a way that engineers and designers get all of their ideas out before they create their prototypes.

    Have students pick one or two (if there is time) ideas that they would like to sketch. Give students guidelines before starting. Distribute one box to each student. Set parameters of how you would like students to use any classroom tools: glue, crayons, tape, scissors, stickers, etc. Set a timer to monitor student progress; make it big and visual so all students can see. Allow ample time for this project (maybe a two-day session) and finish with the opportunity for students to share out their creations.

    Design Thinking Challenges

    I took these last two books and created a design-thinking activity that can be used in the classroom. Both lessons are introduced with the story. Students are then prompted along with the visual help of the slides to get them thinking deeper, collaborating, and designing solutions!

    First Day Jitters

    Officer Buckle and Gloria

     

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

    I recently had a conversation with some teachers who are beginning to shy away from their read-alouds because they feel there is not enough STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) connections within them. I have tips to extend these classroom favorites to include engaging STEAM activities for students.

    Read on to find some STEAM activities to pair with four favorite read-aloud books. Now’s a good time to get your book bins and materials in place so you will be ready when school gets back in session.

    Oh, the Places You’ll Go

    STEAM Thread — Science: Air Resistance

    After reading the story, engage your students in a science lesson all about air resistance, including a fun activity where they make their own parachute. Using small paper products (coffee filters, a small plastic bag, tissue paper), a variety of string (yarn, dental floss, kite string), and cups, students will design parachutes and test the air resistance of them when dropping them from a high place.

    Scholastic has a short article on aerodynamics, drag and lift, and more. Read this as a whole class and have students take notes that can be applied to their parachute design.

    I created slide show presentations that can be used as a whole class lesson plan. The slides can be saved and do not have to be used all in one day. Break it up into segments in a way that works for your students’ learning. To access the "Challenge" slide shows, just click on the images.

     

    Scholastic Movement Lesson

    Want to extend your STEAM lesson to playground and outdoor activities? Check out these links to two great Scholastic resources that are classroom ready!

    Here's a great Parachute Toss activity you can adapt to any grade level.

    Make your outdoor space a fun learning place with these ideas to incorporate physics on the playground.

    Art/Writing

    Design a hot air balloon and have students write about all of the places they will go this year!

    Using this balloon template, have students cut along the bold curved lines then design the hot air balloon with an art medium of your choice. We used crayons and colored pencils.

    Have students write about all of the places they will go and attach the writing to the image. Add a photo of the student to each balloon picture.

     

    A Box Can Be Many Things

    STEAM Thread — Engineering

    Prior to teaching this lesson, send an email to the students’ families requesting empty boxes. I used any size box, but you could request a specific size, such as a shoebox or empty tissue box.

    Read the book as a whole-class activity. Following the read-aloud, discuss imagination and pretending. Let the class know that you are going to read the book again, only this time you’d like volunteers to raise their hands and share what they would turn the box into.

    After shared reading has occurred, invite students to brainstorm on a piece of paper or in a writing notebook all of the things they would turn the box into and why. Let students know that this is a way that engineers and designers get all of their ideas out before they create their prototypes.

    Have students pick one or two (if there is time) ideas that they would like to sketch. Give students guidelines before starting. Distribute one box to each student. Set parameters of how you would like students to use any classroom tools: glue, crayons, tape, scissors, stickers, etc. Set a timer to monitor student progress; make it big and visual so all students can see. Allow ample time for this project (maybe a two-day session) and finish with the opportunity for students to share out their creations.

    Design Thinking Challenges

    I took these last two books and created a design-thinking activity that can be used in the classroom. Both lessons are introduced with the story. Students are then prompted along with the visual help of the slides to get them thinking deeper, collaborating, and designing solutions!

    First Day Jitters

    Officer Buckle and Gloria

     

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

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