18 May 2015

Which Shape Holds More? - A S.T.E.M. Challenge Freebie

Before I get to my S.T.E.M challenge, I wanted to share with you a product that I recently uploaded. With school coming to an end for many of us {four more days for me - whoop, whoop!}, I know award ceremonies are just around the corner.   I designed an Award Set!  Be sure to check it out in my TpT shop.

Now on to my S.T.E.M challenge!  This year I have been completing S.T.E.M challenges with my class, whenever I find a good challenge that fits a topic that we are covering.  My parish currently uses a text book to teach science topics.  But here is the deal, only the teacher has the book!  So, we are left trying to supplement experiments and lessons.  Plus, with there always being a time crunch sometimes Social Living {Science & Social Studies} can be put on the back burner.   This is why I love S.T.E.M challenges {and the fact I use to be a middle school Science teacher}:  you can incorporate them into your math, reading and writing lessons.  Recently we read the story,  "Bad Dog Dodger" and the students had to design a dog house for Dodger.  The students were only allowed to use 1cm graph paper, had to have 3 different polygons shapes, and each shape had to have a perimeter of 30 cm.   As you can see, I just incorporated reading, math {shapes & measurement}, and science {designing}!  Then they had to  write about their dog house design and tell why it was the best {now I have incorporated writing}!  It is so much easier to do than most people think.   

My class loves completing S.T.E.M challenges too!  Every time I would tell the class we are going to complete a challenge excitement would fill the air.  Of course, it would get loud on some occasions and I would have to remind them to use inside voices.  But I have to admit, that there was real learning taking place.  And the best part is that the students are the ones doing the discovery and teaching one another.  During S.T.E.M challenges I am the facilitator and the students are the teachers. 

I hope to be able to incorporate more S.T.E.M challenges next year.  The challenge I want to share with you is, "Which Shape Holds More"?  My class and I actually completed this challenge a few months ago {blog slacker} during our math unit covering 3-D Shapes.  Each group was given the task of designing a triangular prism, rectangular prism, and cylinder.  They were only allowed to use the 12 X 12 card stock paper and tape given to them.  They had to figure out how to fold the paper to correctly get the shape {faces, edges, vertices}.  After each group had their shapes constructed, we tested which shape would hold the most using hardback chapter books.   

This challenge was so easy and uses very little materials.  The kids were amazed that a folded up piece of paper could hold so many books.  As you can see in the pictures, some students thought that they way the books were stacked could effect the outcome.

If you would like to try this activity with your class or save it for next year, click on the image to download it for FREE!  It may not stay FREE forever, so be sure to grab it now.  Please don't forget to leave a comment if you download!

Do you know any awesome S.T.E.M challenges that are perfect for 2nd graders? What about websites?  If you do please share.  I am planning on trying out a lot more next year! Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!



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