My STEM Units

Thursday, October 29, 2015

STEM Family Challenge: November

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is a term used by teachers to encompass lessons and projects which include these subjects.  STEM does not just happen at school. In fact, STEM can be very effective, engaging, and fun at home.  

STEM Family Challenge: November

November is Native American Heritage Month. Click here for the Native American Heritage Month website. Along with resources for teachers/families, they also have an interactive game where you can choose your own adventure and follow a Cheyenne tribe. (very, very cool!)

**Disclaimer: I have lived with, taught beside, learned from, loved deeply, cried alongside, and laughed with Native Americans for over 9 years. My own children have been raised and schooled on the reservation and know more Apache words than I do. I have seen many Native American "lessons" in the past, however I feel they denigrate Native American traditions and peoples. Let's move past the paper bag "leather vest" lessons.

My STEM Family Challenge for November is to honor Native American traditions and tradesmen. You might be wondering where you can go to get information on traditional trades. I have compiled a list of resources to inspire you and your children. You never know, you may find a new favorite author.

Books as Resources

I have used Michael Lacapa books in my classroom every year. Mr. Lacapa was a very talented Native American author/illustrator. Unfortunately, "Little Blue Bird" passed away too young, but, his books have become his legacy. Of all his books, The Flute Player is perhaps my favorite. I dare you not to cry.

For those who prefer novels, I suggest Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins or Elizabeth George Spear's Sign of the Beaver.

Challenge: make a flute, make a canoe, or make a bow and arrow.

Maker Sites as Resources

loom on 

Use Maker Space websites, such as to find a new engineering challenge. Want to learn how to bead? Look it up! Want to learn how to weave a dream catcher, find it here!

Another Maker site is There, you can learn everything from basket weaving to looms. You can even learn how to do the Hoop Dance.

If you wish to have your project displayed, email a pic of your project and the STEM Reflection Sheet to me at .  With your permission, I will post your pic!

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