My Store

My Store
My Store

Free Resources

Free Resources
Free Resources
Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts

Adaptation Lesson Ideas For Primary Scientists

This year, out of any other year, we as educators have had to adapt each and every day.  In science, students from primary to intermediate can truly understand the meaning of adaptations just by brining up COVID. We have adapted with masks, lessons, not being able to work with partners,  bagging up supplies and even quarantining bags to make sure they are safe for use with other students, and the list goes on.

So let's add an adaptation lesson to your science lessons. Humans have adapted to living in almost any habitat. We are able to then recognize our own adaptations, as well as how animals survive as well. 

In a given adaptation unit, we want our little learners to focus on the following concepts: 
1.  Understand the relationship between living things and the habitat they live in
2. Learn how animals adapt and survive in that habitat
3. Learn the different types of adaptations that animals are equipped with such as behavioral adaptations (responses made), Body Adaptations (the physiological changes or body processes that help them survive, and Structural Adaptations (features of their body and what parts they have)
4. Animals have traits they pass down to their children, causing their children to look like, but not exactly like their parents
5. Animals adapt to obtain food as well as protect their food

These concepts can be taught with a ton of fun hands on ideas. These are some of the ideas for you to use:
  • The San Diego Zoo has a ton of Virtual Cameras for students to see what animals look like and how they survive and adapt found here. 

  • Students love this song (I have to say it's one of my favorites because by the time we are done with our mini unit they know the definition of adaptations=a change in the body to fit a location, as well as how a camel learns how to adapt in so many ways)

  • I love giving my students a baggie of paper, a cup, and a pipe cleaner. I don't give them the colors that they may need, but making sure that I have white for them to adapt. You can pick whatever colored paper you would like, but students can learn to adapt to whatever you give them that is another way to reiterate the understanding of what adapting means

  • We also extend this lesson to making a baby for our parent and we focus on how parents pass on traits to their children as well as teach them how to survive.  I give them just one notecard. With that notecard they must make a child that has similar characteristics to the parent. This gives us a chance to now look at animals that have fur/hair, scales, smooth, moist skin, feathers, and hard shell
         This allows you to now discuss the different types of animal groups such as mammals,                          amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, fish, and birds. I love to show pictures of animals for them to 
          put into categories that I have on an anchor chart 

  • Pick an animal and focus on one to start if that helps. I start off our lessons focusing on Penguins and Camels. We compare and contrast where they live and how they survive in extreme conditions. We practice protecting our baby eggs by waddling with small balls/ bean bags from PE that we borrow.  We also learn about animal coverings by testing repel and absorb.

  • One of  my favorite go to's has always been bird beaks. We have always utilized my Bird Beak Stations, however this year I needed to adjust for independent learning. I placed in each baggie: beans, different shaped noodles, beads, (you could use whatever you see that might work such as popcorn, blocks....) two dixie cups (one for cutting like a beak, one for placing food in), a straw, and a clothes pin.  The clothespin, straw, and cup once cut on each side are all beaks. 

  • Another great way to teach adaptations and survival is to do a fun camouflage lesson! Once again, I adjusted for our learners both virtual and in person. I printed off a picture of flowers in a field and we focused on what "organisms" such as insects could they find that are camouflaged in the picture after placing bead down on it. Here is the picture I used with my class. Grab a copy! 

Find ways to cover your standards. Grab a great picture book, show a science connection video. Have students connect with STEM and you can adapt to whatever this year has thrown our way! Way to adapt, pivot, and survive! 

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

A Rainbow of St. Patrick's Day STEM Ideas That Are Golden

Seasonal STEM is a great way to introduce your students to the engineering process in a fun way. St. Patrick’s day leprechaun mischief and rainbow science activities are some of the absolute best to capture the interest of your kiddos and engage them in hands-on STEM experiences. Whether you’re doing STEM at home or school, check out a few of my favorites below that work for nearly every grade level, and with minimal expense and effort to implement! 

From that magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, to the Lucky Leprechauns who helped you implement engaging St. Patrick's Day Challenges, your co-workers might be a bit green with envy!

Here are over 12 different Science and Engineering ideas that are golden:

Leprechaun Hair is so fun to grow! All you need is: Soil • School milk cartons (one per child) • Grass seed • Pattern • Paper to cover carton (I use green)

Leprechaun Traps: Lucky Learners always love making traps. Grab supplies around the house, in your recycle bin or from your classroom. Here are some suggested supplies: Different sized boxes • Sticks • Tape • String • Store bags • Cups • Large cans • Construction paper • Baskets • Styrofoam plates/paper plates 

Indoor Rainbows are simply amazing to students and I must say I love to see a rainbow inside or outside. You need the following supplies: Cake pan • Water • Flashlight • White typing paper • A mirror...You can also use CD's and a flashlight! 

Rainbow Goo: All you need is Borax • Water • Glue (white for opaque, gel for translucent) • Plastic spoon • Green and yellow food coloring • 3 plastic cups • Ziploc baggie

Each of these ideas are part of my St. Patrick's Day Science Pack. With a few other treasures included. 

Setting up a Makerspace in your classroom or even making individual bags of supplies to hand out to your students along with task cards and a fun tic tac toe challenge will keep them chasing a few rainbows on St. Patty's Day as well. 

Makerspace Tasks might include: building something with only 3 supplies like a clover, build something to keep a coin or treasure inside, or even something that you wish was at the end of the rainbow. I take the task cards now and screenshot them to place in seesaw to make it easy for my kidds to see instead of handing them out or keeping them at a station that we can't utilize during COVID.

Want these Makerspace ideas in one place, grab the Makerspace St. Patrick's Day Pack that is versatile for any season!

STEM Stations or STEM Table Top creations are an easy way to let students engineer in a small group or individual way. Again I give my kiddos a bag of treasures that they can choose from and then challenge each to complete it by a given time. 

We include these STEM and Science Connections: 

-Shamrock Shakes during our Sound unit
-Somewhere over the rainbow for variables
-Pot o gold paths as we build out of tubes onto a wall space in our room to show food chains that start with grass and clovers 
-Up, Up, Panda Way with our air and weather connections in science 

Each of these ideas can be found in my St. Patrick's Day STEM-Velop Pack because I love developing engineers through my science lessons!

My little kindergarteners just love our St. Patrick's Day Math and Science Connection Activities as they count and learn!

From Conveyor Belts to Roman Arches and Wishing Wells...if your looking for challenges for your older students find STEM challenges that will be sure to please! Grab a free resource! I am so lucky you are here! Enjoy!

Let's make science and STEM child's play!

Want to Jumpstart Your STEM Makerspace In You Classroom?

Our district is trying to pass a referendum that would include in each building a STEM/Makerspace room. Knowing that I was the local guru of all things STEM and Makerspace  (I have been integrating this into my curriculum and after school programs for over 11 years now)...I was recently in a discussion with a staff member that wanted to talk to me about my ideas. She asked me what a Makerspace actually was. Now, I am no expert in it all, and my explanation might not have even been perfect, but I thought I would share with you what I shared with her. 

What is a Makerspace?

I explained that to me a Makerspace was a place for people to gather to learn, explore and share. A place where you could use technology or no technology, but to me it doesn't have to include machines or even technology to be considered a makerspace. I showed her the area in my room with the big letters MAKERSPACE. I showed her the cardboard, tubes, art supplies, blocks, and egg cartons that were stacked and labeled, ready for kids to come back into my room after the pandemic. I walked her over to the box of craft sticks and masking tape and then shared with her that at its core, Makerspace was an open area for kids at school to gather to create and build. It could be independently or even in a group. We always have a ton of kids join me for after school STEM/Makerspace Clubs each session.

Some might think Makerspace is about tools and 3-D printers, but as I explained, in my research of setting up a small corner in the science room...expanding into our library as it grew...our makerspace is a place for our students to tinker, explore and discover using whatever tools and materials we can place in there to offer them. 

I led her to our library, where we have our more technical supplies we house, our beebots, ozobots, and makey makey devices to name a few. What we have at our school is different that other schools. No two schools have the same exact supplies. That is what makes a makerspace unique. We want our students to see themselves as seamsters/seamstresses(we have 8 sewing machines that were donated), designers, builders, engineers, artists, inventors...that is what makes our spaces special to our own schools. 

That is the beauty of it, I built a place at our school even before a referendum was even considered. What we have in our makerspaces do not have to be expensive. It can be high tech and low tech. 

What about challenges like STEM?

In STEM, there are several tiers to challenges we can give our students. We give them an engineering design model to go through, criteria when necessary, and a time constraint to adhere to. With Makerspaces, I like to use passive design challenges such as task cards if students are seeking a challenge in any way. Giving them a choice in supplies that are needing to be cleaned up after they are done using them, sharing supplies with others, and creating then deconstructing also help the organization of a makerspace so that the materials are more impermanent. Challenges are finished in a given time, often like a STEM challenge, but what I find is that they aren't as attached to their creations in a makerspace. We often snap a picture, share with a friend then take them apart until the next time we are together. You can do this with supplies such as Keva planks, blocks(Jenga is perfect for this as well), Legos, K'nex, and Playdough for example. I have different task cards with themes and tic tac toe boards if they want to continue for a few weeks in a row...these task cards are kept in a ring for them to get easily.

Who gets to go where and other organizational questions:

Organization is a teacher's middle name. If students want to work with robots, the sewing machines, or any popular area in a makerspace, it is best to determine what students want to work on before they arrive. This might mean each area in your makerspace is considered a station that they can sign up for. If they are done, or change their mind, then let them go to an area that is not occupied. We also have students bring their ipads and use qr codes and google slides where they can use coding apps or online challenges. Creating centers where students rotate allows for the structure that teachers often need. Remember, however when you put any control on a makerspace then you are losing some of the open exploration that makerspaces are best known for. You have to do what works for you. 

Organizing supplies is a whole other can of worms. I put all of my supplies in tubs that I label. I place our task cards on rings and hang them from the wall for easy access. We have built in shelves that house all of our labeled tubs. Because we don't have a designated space yet, we house supplies in my science room and in the library because our librarian can use them during her classes. Our makerspace area is expanding and with that how we will organize supplies will change. 

I hoped this helped her as well as helped you out as well. It is hard during a pandemic to continue to allow students to work in groups, share supplies and gather in small areas...as time passes I am positive that makerspace will be even more important to helping our students be creative, work together, and make!

Shop This Post with Makerspace Packs HERE!

Don't forget to give it  a try with this free Makerspace Resource as well! Grab it today!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Winter Science and STEM Ideas

Maybe your like me where there is snow and freezing temperatures...or maybe your in a much warmer spot than me. When the weather starts to stop your students from heading outside because it is way too cold then let's just try some winter science activities inside! Avoid that cabin fever...help your students learn about snow and winter to keep them learning and playing! I am sharing some of my winter K-5th grade activities and ideas that I use in my science classes!

Winter Science Ideas:

1. Science and the Changing seasons is a great science lesson on patterns and cycles in the sky. We make models, I demonstrate, and we make connections with our birthdays!

2. Repel and attract with magnets and ice fishing...yes this is one of my favorites! I give my kinders "fishing poles" (otherwise known as dowels with string and a magnet. They "catch" objects that stick to magnets in a bucket covered with white paper and a hole cut out. We catch and release washer fish, paperclip fish...and more!

3. Animal adaptations, hibernation, and migration is always a great one for animal survival and animal comparisons. From building a den for bear, to learning vocabulary through games, littles love to learn about animals!

4. Polar Bear Blubber and how animals stay warm, add that crisco into a plastic glove and grab that bucket of ice water and learn about animal survival and adaptations!  

5. Snow and Crystals...we learn about how to separate mixtures and solutions. We separate out salt and water and sugar and water through evaporation. You can easily connect how snow is made to connect snow crystals! This year, we poured off some of the salt water onto blue paper to make the perfect salt crystal snowflakes! 

6. Water lessons are perfect for teaching vocabulary such as expand and contract! We have a whole frozen day where we do several fun stations which include: water in a vial with a lid on to see what would happen when soda in a can freezes, we place water in syringes and freeze them to see that water expands, we learn that ice floats and how to test temperature as well as read a thermometer, and we follow it up with water sinking and floating (cold water/blue and hot water/red). Many of these lessons come from FOSS Water Unit, but I adapt and change to help students make connections. We then learn about how real maple syrup is made! Mr and I make our own syrup every spring!

7. Why snow is white...go find that Mystery Science lesson if you have it. It really helps students learn quickly followed by making a snowflake! We then follow up with how to. make a snowflake!

8. What's the Matter Mr. Snowman? is always a second grade favorite! We get snow from outside, you can also use shaved snow from a snow cone maker or even ice chips, we then decorate a cup to look like a snowman with eyes, nose, and mouth, then we add our snow. We measure during our time in science. When we have science next, we discuss what we see. It started off as a solid, turned to a liquid, and now has evaporated. Perfect lesson for the changing states of matter!

9. Chromatography Snowflakes were a hit this year during our mixtures and solutions unit! We learned about chromatography and then tested black markers to see if we could get the colors to separate. We used coffee filters and a cup of water. You can also give them a dropper. We then learned how to cut a snowflake out of our design once it dried!

Need more snow ideas? Check out these packs for additional help. Grab your free snow activity by clicking on the link!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

5 Valentine STEM Challenges You Will Love

I loved Valentine's Day as a kid. My favorite Valentine memory was when I won the Valentine Box Decorating competition in second grade. I was crowned the Queen of Hearts and my classmate, Danny, was crowned King of Hearts. I was so excited and felt so special. I see our students try to prepare for Valentine's Day this year and let's just say it isn't like it has been. We are bringing in Valentine's early in order to quarantine the cards, some are having kids bring in 50 cents in order to buy candy and treats that can be quarantined for the week in order for them to be safe. Wow! The times' we live in. 

In my Science classes, we are doing science and STEM connections to help our students have engaging and fun Valentine themed challenges that can teach a science concept as well! This year, more than ever, I want to stop and take a break to let students find the joy that often seems to be missing as we social distance and work independently. 

Here are my top 5 go to's this Valentine's Day that you are sure to love!!!

Kindergarten: Queen of Hearts Towers using pink paper tubes, cut out hearts, and Valentine Friends cut outs, as we learn how to be Valentine friends to each other and defining property words of science objects and how they connect  that words can also describe a good friend.  Traits vs. Property Words can help you make those valuable connections in language arts as well!

 1st Grade: Love Bugs and animal adaptations, we build insects after learning about how animals adapt and survive not only winter, but as they return to us in spring...where have them been? We concentrate on how animals adapt then build our own love bug with three parts, six legs, antennas, and eyes. The kids love this, but this year, I will place their supplies in a gallon baggie to create their bugs. They will each get the same supplies, but what they do with it will be up to them.  

Found in my Valentine STEM Pack! 

2nd Grade: Valentine Bouquet, planting micro-greens and learning about plant parts this week in second grade gets us learning about heart healthy living as well. I was able to get plastic containers with lids from a local gas station that always helps our community! 

3rd Grade : Valentine Measurements As we learn about our water unit, we are taking a break to discuss the three states of matter as I have to help the third grade teachers as we try to get our third graders up to grade level in math. I try to add what I can to help my kiddos along and to help my coworkers. 

4th Grade: Heart Healthy Science learning. We have already learned about the cardiovascular system so now we are reviewing heart healthy living along with breathing and our masks. I will read the Cardiovascular System by Kay Manolis from Epic Books, free for teachers! When finished we will be reviewing what we learned using a quick Boom Learning Deck! I love that it corrects it for me. I signed up for premium.

5th Grade: Physical or Chemical Change Valentine Candy, We are making candy heart dispensers as we learn about candy and how their properties can be described as they have a changing state of matter. We test our candy hearts in a controlled experiment as well. 

I love Valentine's Day and I love Science and STEM! What a great way to review and have hands-on engaging challenges! Each one of my activities are individually bagged with the supplies necessary for a challenge. It is a lot of prep for K-5th grade as a science teacher, but the reward is as sweet as candy. Next week, I start my third quarter after school STEAM classes and lets' just say I got this in the bag, too!

Because I love that you stopped by my blog...grab this Valentine Freebie that I am using to give to my students for Valentine's Day! Download here!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

8 Ways To Beat Cabin Fever In and Out of School

Next to my childhood home, we had a business that would plow their snow into a big pile and each winter I would have a huge hill to play on. I would make forts, snowmen, and my favorite sledding down what I thought was a huge mountain. Some of you may not have snow where you live, that is pretty lucky when it gets way below freezing here and all I want is to be warm again. 
Each winter, I see not only myself, but everyone around me, including my students suffer a little cabin fever. This year, I am going to be hosting an after school class called, Cabin Fever Club! 

Those of you that follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest know how much I love to share all of the fun after school classes that I facilitate and this club surely is a potpourri of everything I have done rolled up into one class. The key is to motivate my students and tie in learning tasks. 

Each one of the evenings will allow me to utilize reading whether non-fiction or a relatable topic followed up with a hands on activity that ties in science, social studies, math, and reading! It is sprinkled with STEM engineering design challenges that will have my students excited about February and March like never before...I also want to help you find ways to add some interactive activities to your day or after school or family night events. 

I offer three nights a week in six week increments of virtual STEM fun along with different hands on activities for students to do. Here are some of the ideas for my after school club:

1. Home Depot wood kits (we are doing tic tac toe), we reached out to them to see if they would donate to us. If your hosting a family night, reach out to local businesses to see if they can help!

2. We partnered with a garden center and are doing microgreens, flowers, and vegetable seeds. We received a donation by a gas station plastic containers for the plants to have their own little green house. I just asked them if they were interested in helping us, and they said yes! They will be doing virtual tours of a greenhouse, helping us learn about plants, and even taking a virtual tour of how they compost! Garden centers are often willing to help if you publicize where you received a donation!

3. Snowman making kits which include felt scarves and mittens and rocks for the eyes and mouth.  We had donated fabric so we found a way to use what we had! 

4. We included STEM goodies such as toilet paper tubes, tape, string, foil, white paper, cups, pink and red paper, and more. I used what I had around the classroom and in the recycle bin. We will focus on science and holiday STEM challenges to sprinkle into our week. STEM can be done independently, virtually, or for any family night. This year, STEM club events are held virtually. 

5. We will be creating a winter animal out of recycling to focus on adaptations, hibernation, and migration. We play science scavenger hunt, which allows students to run around to find items that they can use in their homes! Kids are very creative with what they find and can use.

6. We will also be focusing on making bird feeders out of a water bottle (full of water) for them to use, this can also be a great greenhouse. This is an inexpensive solution to making sure kids have items to use that is safe and clean.

7. We are doing an egg hunt in our school neighborhood after painting rocks that with paint we send home. We will have an egg hunt for prizes after they hand in the rocks in March! They can win baskets of goodies along with the students at our school. You turn in a painted egg that you turn in for a prize. One prize per family. 

8. We are also going to the zoo on vacation! The San Diego Zoo has a great variety of animals that have live cams and we will be taking a trip per week that will go along with what we are learning about. I am thinking we can go somewhere warm and plot it on a map for us to link technology and social studies! Each student is getting a map and a record sheet to be able to find out how many miles we are going on our trip and we will determine how long it would take us in a car. We will be utilizing places that our families can go for free and providing a list for them so that they can get out of the rut of being indoors.  Check out the San Diego Live Animal Cams!

Along with the supplies: think about themes such as Winter, Snow, and Valentines. We will focus on recycling projects, but also include Valentine's Day STEM from my Valentine's Day STEM pack found here!

No matter how you involve your students in the dull drums of winter or in our case two months without a break, I hope these ideas inspire you and motivate your students as well! 

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Five Fun Gingerbread Science and STEM Ideas

One of my favorite cookies when I was a kid was the gingerbread man that I would make with my grandma. It was always fun to read the story and then make the cookies hoping that the gingerbread man would actually jump right out of the oven so I could chase him!

Who doesn't love as gingerbread man or baby stories that we can share with our students! This week, we used the gingerbread man story to review several reading, math, and science concepts. 

Check it out! Five of my top favorite Science and STEM Gingerbread Connections: 

1. STEM gingerbread houses to tie in story mapping

2. STEM gingerbread bridges to teach problem solving and what if's

3. Solids vs. liquids and what happens to gingerbread when they get wet? (use water in a dropper or test different types of liquids such as water, oil, vinegar, and milk) 

4. living vs. non-living review (Is a cookie living or non-living? What makes something living?

Digital see saw activity!

This is a great science video connection, perfect to talk about the living characteristics that the gingerbread man had in the story and what living means scientifically:

5.  Building a boat for the gingerbread man (test weight in a boat to see capacity with pennies for your weights/cubes) 

Want more fun and engaging gingerbread man themed lessons? Find them here:

Gingerbread Digital SeeSaw and Google Slides Pack This is my newest pack that I used in kindergarten and first grade this week! It was perfect with my virtual and in person kids!

Want a great song and story retell? This is my favorite with just the best melody and graphics! 

I love that my students can review science using one of my favorite stories that connect to my favorite person...my grandma! Run...Run...as fast as you can to your lesson plan book to get started on your gingerbread themed activities today. Let's make learning Science and STEM child's play!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Team Building Ideas For Back To School

This year may look different for so many of us as we might be heading back into school, teaching a hybrid model, or teaching remotely. None the less, team building with our new students is vital. Not only is it essential to establishing the expectations that we need as we move forward into a new school year, but it also sets the tone for you and your new students. Team building during this uncertainty is also a bit scary. Often, our team building activities have us working in small groups, hovered around each other as we build, create, or touch the same supplies. We are in close contact with each other and in my room, the atmosphere can get noisy from all of the excitement. 

This year as well, we may need to really think about what we can do to continue to build rapport and a sense of community that we have all been longing for and need in this uncertain time. Here are five Distance Learning Ideas for your classroom, whether it is virtual or in person that will ensure that safety is also a part of the new year.

Team Building Idea # 1: Team Building Picture Books
You can use the affiliated links to find these amazing team building books. 

Great team building books that can lead to STEAM activities:

8. Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Pena
9. Anything is Possible by Giulia Belloni 

Team Building Idea #2: Live Q & A Activities

Needing more back in school ideas?  Host a fun Q & A game where you are the game show host and your students are the contestants. Pose questions to the players, giving them cards for yes and no (red, green), paddles with a yes side and a no side...or what ever you would like to have them engage in the answers. You could have them stand at their spot or sit if you want a no contact activity as well.  In a zoom or google meet? This is also perfect for students to raise their hand or hold an object up when it applies to them. You can even make it a scavenger hunt if they are at home! Have them run and get something that represents them or one of the questions that you posed!

Need a way to go deeper? You can even have a digital spinner with their names on it and spin to share a story about that topic or question to encourage more engagement. 


Possible questions may include:
-Who has a pet?
-Who has three or more siblings?
-Who went camping this summer?
-Who rides a bus to school?
-Who loves watermelon?
-Who doesn't care for chocolate?
-Who is left handed?

This is also a great way to lead into discussion about fears for the new year. Recess, friends, lunch, specialists, getting sick...

Team Building Idea # 3: Project Based Learning Challenges

There are lots of great sites out there for project based learning challenges that might help you as you move forward this school year. What are project based learning?

Project Based Learning is student-centered. It is a teaching method that is based on having learners focus on engaging in projects that are real-world, curriculum based related to a question or challenge. The question is open ended, and it encourages students to apply their skills and background to answer that question along with a product at the end of their learning.

Team Building Idea #4: Individual STEM Challenges 

 STEM challenges will need to be one to one if you are at school. If you have a hybrid model, packing a bag of supplies for both teams to do at the same time, and share via flipgrid so everyone can take part this will give them an opportunity to work as a team of learners, but yet not have to share supplies.  Supplies will have to be prepackaged, or bagged, or placed on individual trays for options. 

Then once finished can be shared remotely or projected on a smarthboard, or through flipgrid videos for them to expand their thinking and showcase their products. We used to go table to table, but we are going to have to make sure we think differently about social distancing if and when we are back in school. 

STEM Challenge Ideas for one to one:
1. towers
2. parachutes
3. buildings/storefronts
4. zip lines
5. individual baggie of goodies challenge
6. Science experiments and challenges
7. coding
8. recyclable creations
9. What can you build with a cup, index card, straw, pompom and popsicle stick for example...all consumable and cheap. See what you have that can be given out and not needed back. Let them create whatever they come up with using the items given!
10. theme of the year, back to school theme, fill a bucket theme...pick a theme and build something that represents the focus. We are making apple towers, using an apple from my apple tree at home and index cards and popsicle sticks I will give them in a brown paper bag! A spin on last year, with materials that are cheap and easy to use! 

Team Building Idea # 5: Flipgrid Getting to Know You

Using flipgrid to get kids talking and sharing is perfect for team building virtually as well as in person! Set up a grid with a fun theme such as beach, safari, or whatever fun idea you got going on. You can invite them on this year's adventure. 

Have them share an intro video that might include:

*reflect on the previous year
*share their favorite classes
*what they want to do, but can't YET
*what they need to do to make it a successful year
*bucket fillers

Team Building Idea #6: Elementary STEM Club

This is going to be an unprecedented year. Back to school has never looked this way, and it's going to require extraordinary flexibility and ingenuity. There's no reason to walk this road alone! We may not have all the answers now... but together, we will figure them out!

Join me and my STEM Team at Elementary STEM Club for activities you can use, interactive discussions about the struggles you are facing, and bonuses and freebies along the way!

This back to school season, will you be...

  1. in the classroom

  2. distance learning

  3. hybrid learning

  4. mobile/on a cart

  5. not sure, but it all stresses me out

Join us at Elementary STEM Club as we figure out the best ways to implement STEM this school year!

How great would it be if you had access to tried and true STEM activities, a supportive group to lean on and learn from, and bonus goodies to make this back-to-school season a little less crazy?

Join us at Elementary STEM Club where you will get all that and more! Do you know the THREE things essential for STEM success ALL year long? 

We can’t wait to share them with you at Elementary STEM Club.

Find out all the details at:

Elementary STEM Club Site Here

Still needing more ideas? TPT can help!

Needing more ideas? Check out my TPT Back To School Resources on Sale from July 13th-July 19th! Head this way to the deals today!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Back To School Activities For Your Science and STEM Class...In or Out of School

This summer has me thinking a lot about what next year might look like, and I am sure that some of my teacher friends out there are thinking the same thing. I guess you might say I am trying to piece it all together. I am headed back to my school this year, which makes me a bit nervous with the great unknown and trying to find ways to connect to new students and new requirements for learning. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, activities and lessons that you have used in your toolkit each year, can be reworked to utilize whether we are at school working individually or distance learning once again.


For some of us piecing things together, maybe changing schools...changing grade levels...starting off a new year is never easy. Let's just add COVID and the great unknown. I believe that the most important thing you can do right away is create fun engaging hands on opportunities for our students. This will certainly allow you to gauge right away which of your students are leaders and in what way, which students are more shy and reserved and which ones might struggle with challenges and activities as we try to get them to learn the skills we need to be resilient in a time of uncertainty!

Here are some great go to's for you to utilize in the first two weeks of school...before we get started let's discuss supplies and distribution, which will need to look different. 

What to do about supplies?
Now, you might be asking, what if the kids are in school and they can't share supplies? My goal is to create trays or even paper bags with supplies in or on the day before and set them in a grade level large tub. Once finished with the supplies, I would collect by walking around with the tub and having them drop it into the big bucket. When cleaning I will wear gloves and follow the state/district protocol for washing. This method of dropping the supplies into a bucket you walk around with assures no contact. :( 

Here is my plan for supply distribution:

In school: students will be given a tray of supplies such as straws, cardboard, toilet paper tubes, card stock. They will create something out of the supplies given. If they need supplies: a plastic tray will be used to bring an individual what they need, they get the item from the bucket/tray/tub. Once they are finished, go around with a large bucket to collect. Students drop their used items in the bucket, with no contact. Then we sanitize the the bucket/tray/tub when time allows. This allows us to use items quicker than the 48 hours of set aside time.  

At home: items are sent home with the group that is virtual on the day they are in school in a brown paper bag (this is recyclable and cheaper than plastic). When home, they create the assigned task/challenge and then share in your class meet or in flipgrid in video form for assessment.  Most items will be allowed to stay home and to be kept, however items that need to be returned, will be brought back to school and when students arrive back, a tub will be set out for drop off in their classrooms or when they come back to science. I will then place it off to the side for 48 hours, clean and reuse the materials or place them back in my FOSS kits. 

Here are my back to school go to's that can be done one on one in class or at home:
1. Saving Sam (in a group or even alone...)

I am sure you might have seen Saving Sam. The little gummy worm that needs help from drowning. It is a great team building activity that I use for my fourth graders. There are some great free resources on TPT for that activity. 

However, this year I am using my Saving Sam extensions so that I can build on the one activity and pose another. What if we can't save Sam together or our students are at home doing virtual learning?  Let's save Sam with our families...or let's save Sam on our own. This can be done by creating an aluminum foil boat, zip line, or a sun protector out of recyclables or blocks that can be collected and washed. Give a paper Sam to them even though the gummy worm is tasty and fun...We choose from Boat Regatta, Mountain Retreat and Sun Protector. We call them Sam's Extended Adventures! You can find it here.  

2.  School Rules STEM (one that can be done alone)

 This is a great way for our kiddos to review school rules, either in school or at home virtually. You might have seen your students unsure of how to follow Google or Zoom Meets correctly and so you probably had to create some new rules. As we find ways to problem solve some of the issues that came up (mine were: they didn't show up each week, they didn't do quality work at times, they didn't do an activity or show their work, they sent an email sharing they didn't get it then you send them a how to video and they still don't do it. Now, our district is looking at a Group A/B model where group A comes in while B is virtual for four days then flip flops with B. We will need to review those rules as we move forward. Why not have students work on a STEM model representing the rules that we have in place as we move forward. 

Ideas that might look different this year: 

  • walking in the halls
  • mask wearing
  • social distancing
  • bathroom use
  • washing hands
  • playing outside
  • lining up
  • going to specialists
  • eating lunch
  • outdoor rules
  • touching our faces

3. Playground Creations (another STEM challenge that can be alone at school or at home)

If you are like me, you might not be seeing your students allowed to play on the playground equipment come fall...why not have your students find a creative solution/invention for no contact playground fun! Games, activities, and events may need a little modification, what a perfect opportunity to not only teach what modifications and contraints are, they surely know now what that means, they can relate. We can also do a great job with this by teaching positive growth mindset. We all want things to go back to "normal", but that isn't realistic at the moment. So, how can we all push through, be positive, and solve problems? 

Lesson kick start: 

1. Have students review why it is important to stay healthy. What does that have to look like and why.
2. What rules are in place that are different than last year?
3. How can we find new ways to have fun while social distancing?
4. Generate possible game and playground ideas. Hula Hoops? Sidewalk chalk areas? Walking paths? Juggling? Painted games on the black top (in line with six feet lines to follow)...can students then create a STEM project that helps students remember the new school rules?

4. Cup stacking challenge (when life may be somewhat normal again)
This has always been a favorite go to...when life allows us to be working closer together....Using 6 Dixie cups, one rubber band, and a piece of string for everyone in the group is a perfect way to have your students as a group to problem solve and work as a team. I use this activity with my fifth graders to address how our science labs and stations work as a group. They must formulate a list as a class first, so we can discuss what is essential for our labs to be successful. Some of our BIG take aways are typically: we must work together, we must communicate in a positive  manner, we must do our part, we must listen respectfully to everyone. I focus on our school's core values as well and what that must look like.

Need resources for Science and STEM? Check out these helpful back to school packs:

5. A challenge for you...Find something that helps you get ready for fall...

Not sure yet how to even navigate for next year? We all need to give ourselves a little boost! Join me for one last idea for fall helping the Whole Teacher as we navigate our way together! My friends and I invite you to join us for the Whole Teacher EclecticCon. This virtual conference of 50+ sessions includes 30 hours of training starting July 27th. Click here to learn more. Join us Carol from Teachers are Terrific, Renee from Science School Yard, Meredith from Momgineer, Sarah from Science and STEM Team, and Natasha from Vivify as we present along with over 50 presenters as we share more tips and tricks that are puzzling all of us! We are better together!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Powered by Blogger.