Skip to main content


STEM Design Experiences empower students to be creators in the fields of Technology, Science and Engineering through hands-on learning.

Throughout the school year I will work with teachers to create STEM experiences aligned to district curriculum for students. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The goal of STEM is to provide students with real-world problem solving opportunities. STEM allows students to think outside the box with project-based learning.  STEM experiences are about collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving, delegation responsibility, and innovation. They are designed to help our students become 21st century digital age learners by creating, inventing, and designing through challenge based learning activities, and exploration.

Why Do We Need STEM?

November Lesson Objectives:
Students will understand empathy
Students will understand the Design Challenge Process

1) Creativity & Innovation
2) Communication and Collaboration
4) Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Impact of Science, Technology, and Human Activity-
Identify a question that was asked, or could be asked, or a problem that needed to be solved when given a brief scenario (fiction or nonfiction of people working alone or in groups solving everyday problems or learning through discovery)
Work with a group to solve the problem, giving due credit to the ideas and contributions of each group member.
Communicate the procedures and results of investigations and explanations through: oral presentations, drawings and maps, writings, etc...
Design and construct a machine, using materials

Health: Demonstrate decision-making and problem solving skills. Demonstrate appropriate ways to solve conflicts with peers.

Communication Arts:
Read and follow simple directions to perform a task.
Listening and Speaking
Read and follow three-and four-step directions to complete a task.

I enjoyed spending time this week working in classrooms to share STEM experiences with students. Since this was a new concept for most students, I started by explaining to students what STEM meant. Students very first challenge was the 30 Circles Challenge.

Directions: 1 minute to turn as many of the blank circles as you can into recognizable objects

Each student chose a group 4-5 students to work with. Each team member has a role. These roles can be shared.

TECHNOLOGISTS- Work with the iPads to complete portfolio using the Seesaw APP or Book Creator

BUILDERS- Assess Materials and Build Prototype

WRITERS- Complete written journal, and empathy map

PRESENTERS- Share the group accomplishments and final prototype

Next, was the Thingamob Challenge: On this new science entertainment series on the History channel show, ThingamaBob's task is to use seemingly random objects to create never before seen inventions. I showed students this 30 second screwdriver challenge:

Each team was given a random object to find other uses for. They brainstormed ideas for one minute. (ex: toothbrush, battery.. sponge ...everyday objects)

I gave the students simple objects; and they came up with some pretty interesting new uses.

The next part of the lesson required students to understand empathy.
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another
2nd Grade Empathy Lesson involved...
Listening to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, and completing an 

map (similar to this one) for Jack- What is Jack feeling, seeing, doing, hearing, saying?

3rd/4th Grade Empathy Lesson 
Empathize with a pizza delivery driver.
What does a delivery driver see, do, hear, say, feel? What is the best and worst thing about being a pizza delivery driver? The students then apply their empathy mapping skills to complete a map for their user.

After completing an empathy map students in 2nd grade had the challenge of building the highest tower for Jack using pipe cleaners. Each group received 15-20 pipe cleaners.

We measured the tallest tower, compared the sizes of our towers, and then declared a winner.

3rd Grade Challenge Experiences:
Challenge: Create a solution for a problem for the pizza delivery man.
Students got to spin the wheel on the random name picker app to choose their challenge for each group.
Example challenges were: I need to protect myself from the rain, I need to take multiple items up several flights of stairs, or I need to keep the pizzas warm.
 More ideas here

Students were given a STEM Journal & their challenges.  They were given 5 minutes to brainstorm their ideas, explore their materials, and sketch out an idea.

Each group was given a bag with different materials. Each bag contained two or three fastener items, two or three surface items, and two or three secure items.

After the 5 minutes, the technologists in the group were given a short tutorial on how to either use the Seesaw App or BookCreator APP

4th Grade Challenge Experiences:

We used The Extraordinaires Design Studio Kit. Students had 15 minutes to design, and build a prototype, and create a portfolio for their user.

From the website: The Extraordinaires Design Studio is the creative thinking game for problem solvers aged between 8 and 108. If you've ever wondered what it's like to invent a music player for a robot, a remote control for a pirate, or cooking utensil for a vampire teen, this is definitely the game for you. Each set includes dozens of design challenges.

The students learned a lot about working together, time management, and they produced some fantastic projects.

Each student earned their STEM challenge sticker

It is important to remember:

STEM is not a curriculum.

STEM is a culture that can happen in all classes, all grade levels.

STEM is a way of thinking. It has to be fostered.

STEM needs to be relevant.

You need resources to facilitate the culture of STEM.

Below is a list of household materials that we will be using to create our STEM projects. If you are willing to donate any of the items, you can send them to school with your child at anytime throughout the year. Thank you in advance for helping our class collect these items for STEM! Please reach out to me if you have any questions 
Mrs. Brown

cereal boxes, empty tissue boxes, oatmeal boxes, paper towel tubes, paper grocery sacks, colored tissue paper, shoe boxes with or without lids, scrap pieces of cloth, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, coffee filters, straws, tin foil, string, brown paper bags (lunch), cardboard, glue scissors, paint, glue sticks, tape, 


Popular posts from this blog

January STEM Challenge 2nd Grade: Coding with Ozobots

The STEM lesson for 2nd grade incorporated using Ozobot Robots to teach States of Matter & Mapping Skills. I first learned about Ozobots this past summer. I caught the Amazon Prime sale and purchased two for my kids as toys. Little did I know the impact it could have in the classroom! 2nd grade students had just completed their unit on States of Matter, and I was looking for a way to incorporate my new ozobots I won for my school, and I came across this great blog post by Kim Mattina  in which she used Ozobots with middle schoolers to program the States of Matter. I modified the lesson to address curriculum objectives for 2nd grade, and then along the way,  I found a way to connect it to their mapping unit too. 

OB Science and Innovation Night

 Old Bonhomme's 1st annual Science and Innovation Night was Friday, April 6th.  The focus was STEAM, and it included over 30 outside agencies, high school and elementary student showcases, food trucks, GooseChase scavenger hunt and the Science fair. Over 200 students & their families attended, and we gave away over 40 prizes from sponsor donations. What an amazing night! Flyer and banner designed by Patricia Brown Our event started with a Science Fair.  From 6pm-6:30, students had the opportunity to share their Science Fair projects in the library. Check out this little scientist At the registration table, families received a map, scavenger hunt info, and cool giveaways including stickers, pencils, bags, and buttons. Did I mention we had over 200 kids register? What a crowd! Between 6:30-7:30pm we had student & agency showcases.  The most exciting part for me was the student showcases.  STEM is for Girls is an after school club de

January STEM Challenge 4th Grade- Breakout EDU Geometry Review

January STEM Challenge: 4th Grade Geometry Breakout EDU Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas. Players have a fixed amount of time to solve a series of challenges, riddles, and mysteries.  Watch a video about Breakout EDU  4th Grade students just completed a Geometry Unit. This game was used as a review for the formative assessment.  This game addresses the following objectives: Math-Geometry Relationships: Name and identify properties 1,2, 3-dimensional shapes; describe attributes of 3- dimensional shapes using appropriate geometric vocabulary (circle, rectangle, rhombus, trapezoid, triangle, square, oval, hexagon, cube, rectangular prism, cylinder, pyramid, sphere, cone, parallelism, perpendicularity). Select and use benchmarks to estimate measurements of 0, 45 (acute), 90 (right), and greater than 90 (obtuse) degree angles. Classify angles as acute, obtuse, or right. Using grap