My STEM Units

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April STEM Ideas

April is a great time in the classroom.  April is National Poetry Month.  April has Earth Day, Easter, and Arbor Day.  April is also the time when most schools are done with testing and teachers are a little more free to have fun teach STEAM.  

Earth Day and STEAM  

Instead of our normal Daily 5 rotations, we celebrated Earth Day in style.  We had 5  stations:

1.  Making our own paper (recycling):  

2.  Painting the planet Earth.  This was supposed to be marble painting, but the kids got creative and discovered that if you scrape the paint, it makes a "champ" design.

3.  Writing in response to "The Lorax".  

4.  Reading magazines and finding "fun facts for the Lorax".  (We reduced paper by using both sides)

5.  Reading Earth Day themed books and taking AR tests.  

National Education Association has done a great job of putting STEM activities together.  The activities are primarily for K-5 and are searchable.  They have lesson plans, printables, and games/activities.  Check them out here.  Comment which activities you plan to do with your students.

Poetry and STEAM

You might think that poetry and science are polar opposites.  But, you can integrate both of them.  Have students write a science-based haiku.  Our fifth graders wrote haikus about hot air balloons (STEM Unit).

Draw inspiration from some accomplished science and nature poets using resources from The Poetry Foundation and the American Academy of Poets. For starters, try:

Ten Poems to Get You Through Science Class This Year

The Sciences Sing a Lullabye  by Albert Goldbarth

Darwin’s Bestiary  by Philip Appleman

Haiku Journey by Kimberly Blaeser

Arbor Day and STEAM

I heart Shel Silverstein.  His poems are short enough to keep attention for little readers.  They are silly.  They are whimsical.  I like his short stories too.

Have you read The Giving Tree?  Watch this short animation to get the gist of the story. 

Reading this book will no doubt inspire young readers to plant their own giving trees.  In fact, if you plan ahead, you can put seeds into the pulp when making paper (see above).  The paper can then be planted (along with the seeds).

Students can play along with the book with a Maker Space of wooden blocks to make the house, boat, etc.

Imagine having your students finish the animation with technology, either via tablet apps or desktop programs.

Bring in writing with ideas in this blog devoted to Shel Silverstein.

Easter and STEAM

Check back in a few days for a blog post devoted entirely to Easter and STEM.

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