Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Hi Families! 

You may be looking for some more ideas to keep your kids busy at this time. I know I am always looking for ideas for my own children. Check out the cool activities at the links below. There are tons of fun STEM activities to try and you can even incorporate writing. Have your kids write down a prediction/hypothesis about what they think will happen in the activity/experiment. After they see the results of the experiment, they can write down what happened and even draw pictures/diagrams and label them. 

Hang in there! You're doing great! 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Week of May 25th, 2020

This week, I am sharing a great book about coding, or computer programming, called How To Code A Sandcastle by Josh Funk. It does a great job explaining important ideas in coding and what it means to program a computer to do something. The computer in the book is a robot who helps the girl build a sandcastle. 

Here's a fun coding activity to try from coderkids.com that helps teach the idea that computers will only do what you tell them to do:
Code a Robot

1. In a fairly large space, put various objects around the area that act as obstacles that people have to move around. Have a start and end point. 
2. One person is the robot and the other is the programmer. (If you have more than two people playing, the programmers can get in a line and rotate giving directions.)
3. Programmer(s) give(s) directions to get the robot through the obstacle course without touching any of the obstacles. If an obstacle is touched, then the robot must start from the beginning. 
4. The programmer should only give one direction at a time. Example: "turn to the right and take a step" should be broken down into 2 separate steps: "turn to the right" and "take 1 step".

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Week of May 18th, 2020

The read-aloud this week helps students understand: What IS Science? Science includes so many things and this books shows that it is all around us. 

Science is everywhere and causes many amazing things-- including the very cool results in this activity where crystals form on an object hanging in a solution of borax and water. In this activity, they used pipe cleaners to form letters of the child's name and then hung them in the solution overnight. It does require some materials you may not ordinarily have around the house. I would like to try this with my own kids, but I will have to pick up some borax the next time I am out. Some people do, however, have this material in their households, so if you are one of those people, you may want to check this out! 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Week Of May 11th

Check out another great read-aloud from Brad Meltzer, creator of the cartoon Xavier Riddle & The Secret Museum on PBS Kids. This week's book is about a very inspiring scientist, Marie Curie! 

Here's a fun engineering activity to try: Build structures with toothpicks and jellybeans or you can use mini marshmallows. It's fun to see what you can create with these simple items!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Week of May 4th, 2020

Here is a read-aloud about rollercoasters! If you've ever ridden one, you might think they are pretty fun, or you might think they are scary. Let's think about this --engineers had to design them and then builders had to construct them! It's kind of amazing that people are able to build rollercoasters that make riders go super fast on a track, make them go down very steep hills, and even make them go in loops upside-down--all while keeping everyone safe! It takes a lot of science to make that happen!

If you would like to try to build a paper rollercoaster like the one shown above, below is a link to a quick video that shows you how to make one. (You can make paper tracks without using the printable template they show in the video.)

Here is the link to the lesson plan with more details: 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Week of April 27th, 2020

This week's read-aloud is a book called The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. It's about a girl who does not want to try drawing in art class. She does not believe she is an artist. With lots of  encouragement from her teacher, she tries creating something very simple. After that first little step she takes, she wants to make more art--and so she finds she actually IS an artist. Sometimes, we just need to take that first, small step towards trying something new, and it can open up a whole new, exciting world for us. 

I found this cool STEM activity you may want to try this week. You just use about 7 twigs/sticks from outside and arrange them in a way where you can hang them and they will twirl. The picture shows them wrapped in yarn for extra color, but you do not need to do that. You will need string or yarn to wrap/tie the sticks together.  If you want to read more details on how to make this mobile, click on the link below.  

Quick Steps to Building This Mobile:

Remember: you can just use regular sticks--they don't need to have colored yarn wrapped around them. 

Arrange the sticks the way you want them to hang and tie them together with string. 

Add a rock if you need to, to keep the sticks straight. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Week of April 20th, 2020

Here is another read-aloud from Brad Meltzer. It is about the female pilot, Amelia Earhart. Brad Meltzer created the Xavier Riddle & the Secret Museum cartoon that airs on PBS Kids. You may recognize some scenes from that show in his read-aloud!

A simple STEM activity for this week is: Can you build something that floats in the bathtub or sink? Use any materials you have around the house: aluminum foil, cereal/cereal boxes, straws, empty plastic berry containers---anything you have! What materials work the best? Bonus activity: Can you put some pennies or other coins on it? How many can you put on it before it sinks?