During the end of winter, we’ve had to get a little more creative with our learning time here on the farm. Some days have consisted of running a lot of errands for the remodel, we’ve had a LONG season of sickness, and Daddy has been home with us a lot lately. So using Tied 2 Teaching‘s STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading for some of our learning time activities has been a great fit!
What it Is & How We Use it in Our Homeschool
The STEM Activities bundle from Tied 2 Teaching is organized by months; each month contains 4 themed activities to go with the holidays or season of that month. These are in PDF format, which makes it easy to print out the pages you need, or just view on your device.
Each activity comes with links and a QR Code to a reading passage about the project. This gives the background information students need to complete their activity correctly-following guidelines for the STEM activities is a BIG part of completing them! The reading passage will also be needed to complete the comprehension portion of the activity sheets, before starting the STEM activity. The passage includes fun facts, often focuses on a new vocabulary word or two, and provides much needed background knowledge for completing the challenge.
Next is the design challenge itself; this includes the objective of the challenge, the necessary design criteria, materials needed and suggested, and the final product questions to think about. These are some starter questions that help students think about the design they’re going to make- how will you ensure the stability? What materials allow for the best model? How will it be unique?
The provided activity sheets allow for many different learning styles-there are options for more writing, drawing sketches, and some are laid out like a graphic organizer, perfect for visual learners. I chose to have my children (ages 8 and 6) dictate to me, and I wrote down their responses to the prompts.
Their favorite challenge from the several we’ve completed is the Groundhog Burrow Challenge. First I read aloud the close reading passage, and they answered some prompts before beginning the activity. They collected their supplies, and worked through several different strategies for creating their groundhog burrow. I really enjoyed watching their creativity peak! They chose a specific box because it would look like a cut out, to allow people to look into the burrow like an amphibian exhibit at the zoo, or like the cutout pictures book we read.
What’s wonderful about STEM activities is that while yes, children are creative and do these types of things using their imagination naturally, the prompts and process help with systemic problem solving and lay foundational work for more scientific discovery down the road.
Today, as this mama recovers from the flu, I have plans for them to complete the Totem Pole Challenge- as we can do this outside in the sunshine with our building blocks, or inside if I need to catch a recovery nap while they work. =)
These activities can be expanded for all age ranges; the final product and challenge prompt answers will vary depending on ability and developmental level. Older students will do more expanding while younger students will be learning more foundational listening and problem solving skills. My 4 year old tagged along
The STEM challenges are unique activities that will be perfect for any homeschool; if your family enjoys unit studies these would fit right in, as there are sure to be activities for just about any topic, holiday, or season! They are great for expanding math and science concepts for all ages. I was more involved with the first few challenges we did, and then after that they were able to work more independently.
You could easily make these the center of your morning time, expanding with videos, living books, and notebooking! This is how I plan to use these in the future.
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