Showing posts with label STEM and STEAM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STEM and STEAM. Show all posts

February 25, 2021

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing + STEM Activity

A Visit from St. Nicholas... also known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas... by Clement Clarke Moore is a traditional Christmas poem that has inspired authors to write parodies, satires, and their own versions of it.  Are you familiar with The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing?  Children's author Natasha Wing was so inspired by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that she wrote a St. Patrick's Day version for children to read!  Keep reading to learn more about The Night Before St. Patrick's Day and how you can tie it into a STEM/STEAM activity for your students.

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing is a book inspired by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Read the book then build a leprechaun trap!
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2016.)

February 20, 2021

Crackle and Pop! Bible Science Experiments by Hanna Holwerda + STEM Activity

In January 2021, Hanna Holwerda released Crackle and Pop! Bible Science Experiments for parents, teachers, and children who want to integrate science instruction with the stories in the Bible. There are 100+ STEM experiments and science activities in the book that can be completed at home or at school, and many of them use materials that you may already have.  You can also get many of these items inexpensively at a dollar store.  Keep reading to learn more about Crackle and Pop! and to check out some photos from one of the experiments I tried!

Crackle and Pop: Bible Science Experiments by Hanna Holwerda integrates STEM activities with Bible Stories. Post includes a sink and float experiment.

February 10, 2021

Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon + STEM Activity

February is National Children's Dental Health Month... a month-long observance that raises awareness of dental health and promotes the importance of proper oral hygiene.  During this time, early elementary school students learn and practice the right way to brush and floss their teeth.  Quite often dentists will visit their classrooms as guest speakers and pass out toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.  Fun times!

Not too long ago, Michael Gordon published his book Dragon's Breath which emphasizes why having proper oral hygiene is so important.  Dragon's Breath is about Joe the Dragon who does not want to brush his teeth.  His teeth turn green... his breath starts to smell... and people don't want to be near him because of it.  Eventually, Joe brushes his teeth and feels good about himself.  Hooray!  But, what if Joe didn't make the smart choice to brush his teeth?  What would have happened to them over time?  Read Dragon's Breath and complete the following STEM activity to find out.  The results are GROSS!

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

January 31, 2021

The Adventures of Scout by The3engineers

A few weeks ago I wrote about the book Saving Planet Earthly by our friends at ClimateScience.  Saving Planet Earthly introduced the important topic of climate change to children.  It explained what climate change is, what causes it, and how we can minimize its effects.  

Like ClimateScience, the3engineers is another nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate children about environmental issues and to encourage them to make small changes that will add up to make a huge difference.  The3engineers have written a series of audiobooks called The Adventures of Scout, the first three of which... Plastic On Our Beaches,  The Bees Are Missing, and Endangered Animals... are currently available on their website.   Keep reading to learn more about the3engineers, their mission, and how they came up with the idea for Scout!

Learn about The Adventures of Scout, an environmental audiobook series for children written by the3engineers. Endangered animals, plastics, and bees.
(The following is a paid sponsored post from the3engineers.)

January 14, 2021

Saving Planet Earthly by ClimateScience

Climate change is a hot topic to talk about right now... a topic that is also controversial.  Some people believe in climate change and the science behind it, whereas others deny its existence and declare it a hoax.  Of course, there are plenty of people in the middle who have heard about climate change but don't really understand what it is.  So... what is climate change?  What are the causes of it?  Is climate change something cyclical, something brought about by humans, or a combination of both?  If climate change is for real... is there anything that can be done about it?  To help answer these and other questions children may have, three authors from ClimateScience wrote the book Saving Planet Earthly.  Saving Planet Earthly is a lighthearted children's book that takes a serious look at climate change and what we can do about it.  Read on to learn more about this book and how it can be used in the classroom.

Learn the ins-and-outs of climate change with the online children's book Saving Planet Earthly by ClimateScience. Ideas to protect the environment.

January 5, 2021

Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer + STEM Activity

Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, for good relationships of many kinds, for loving well, and for professional success. And it’s key to preventing bullying and many other forms of cruelty.
-5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Empathy is the ability to be aware of and sensitive to another person's thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  It's the ability to 'put yourself in their shoes' and is the foundation for kindness, tolerance, and compassion.  It's also an emotional skill that needs to be taught.  

One of the ways teachers and parents can help children learn empathy is through reading and discussing empathetic children's literature.  Reading Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer is a good book to use when starting that discussion.  In Love Grows Love, we see children... and flowers... experiencing different emotions.  Their faces clearly depict how they are feeling.  Children will be able to look at the illustrations, identify how each child and flower are feeling, and see a cause and effect relationship between the children's emotions and the flowers'.  Keep reading to learn more about Love Grows Love and for a science/art activity that will reinforce this book's message!

Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer sends a message of love and empathy. Read Love Grows Love then make some seed paper to grow some love!

November 19, 2020

Hot Chocolate Surprise + STEM Activity

Teachers are always on the lookout for fast and easy science experiments to complement what their students are learning from their textbooks.  Sometimes science textbooks are dry and not very interesting... even when they are introducing interesting subject matter!  Science experiments are a fun, hands-on way to bring energy and excitement to those pesky pages.  If you are looking for a science experiment that is easy to prepare and conduct, educational, and with a high-interest level, give Hot Chocolate Surprise a try.  Hot Chocolate Surprise appeals to students of all ages and meets a number of objectives.  Read on for a list of materials needed, directions, a free printable, and a (yummy) extension activity.

Learn about chemical changes with this simple science experiment. Mix hot chocolate, baking soda, and vinegar to make a messy HOT CHOCOLATE SURPRISE!

November 4, 2020

Goo on My Shoe by Jacqui Sheperd + STEM Activity

When teaching reading to young or struggling readers, teachers often use poetry as one of the strategies to help them.  There are a lot of reasons why we use poetry:

🍎 Poems tend to be brief and easier to read.
🍎 Repetitive reading and mastery of poems build students' confidence.
🍎 Choral reading of poems encourages hesitant students to read out loud with the others.
🍎 Teachers can use poetry to teach word recognition skills and build vocabulary.
🍎 We feel emotions when we read poetry.  Talking about those emotions helps to build a better understanding of ourselves and others.

Goo on My Shoe (affiliate link to Amazon) by Jacqui Sheperd is a story for young readers that is written in poetic form.  It has a likable main character and a storyline that will keep students engaged and motivated to read.  Read on to learn more about Goo on My Shoe and how you can integrate it into your language arts lessons.  There is even a simple goo recipe for you to make with your students!


Learn about rhyming words, words with the /oo/ sound, and how to make your own goo with the book Goo on My Shoe by Mari Schuh.

October 1, 2020

It Came from Under the High Chair: A Mystery by Karl Beckstrand + STEM Activity

It Came from Under the High Chair... fully known as It Came from Under the High Chair – Salió de Debajo de la Silla Para Comer: A Mystery in English and Spanish (affiliate link to Amazon)... by Karl Beckstrand is a funny book that children who speak either English or Spanish can enjoy.  It features Ivan, a messy baby, who drops food under his highchair.  Somehow this food magically comes to life and becomes an icky, ooey-gooey, slimy food monster.  Read on to learn more about It Came from Under the High Chair and to find an ooey-gooey slime recipe inspired by the book!

Language arts lesson and slime recipe for Karl Beckstrand's It Came from Under the Highchair-Salió de Debajo de la Silla Para Comer: A Mystery

September 30, 2020

Oozing Pumpkins + STEM Activity

Halloween is coming!  Families will be carving pumpkins and decorating their houses with them.  When Halloween is over, these pumpkins will be thrown away, fed to animals, or tossed into compost piles.  But... these pumpkins can be used for something fun and educational before being disposed of... science!  Read on to learn more about a fun science experiment you can do with these leftover pumpkins.

Combine baking soda and vinegar to create an exciting chemical reaction! Oozing Pumpkins is a fun STEM science experiment for children of all ages.

September 11, 2020

Does Halloween Candy Sink or Float? + STEM Activity

It's only September and the stores are already gearing up for Halloween.  Shelf after shelf after shelf is loaded up with bags of Halloween candy waiting for you to buy it and take it home.  Of course, we can eat the Halloween candy or pass it out to trick-or-treaters, but we can also use it to teach little ones about one of the basic fundamentals of science... does it sink or float?


A Halloween candy themed sink or float science experiment. Introduction to scientific process. Materials, procedure, prediction, and record results.

September 8, 2020

How to Grow Celery from Scraps + STEM Activity

A couple of years ago I had an interesting conversation with my second and third-grade class.  We were having a conversation about edible plants and some of the children were grossed out when they made the connection between vegetables and the plants we eat.  Carrots are roots?  Gross!  Lettuce is a leaf?  Gross!  Celery is a stem?  Gross!  My students truly did not know where their vegetables come from.  They knew that vegetables come from the grocery store, often in cans and freezer bags.  They knew they could find fresh vegetables in the produce section... but most of them did not know anything more than that.  To help your students make the connection between plants and the foods they eat, you can use their food scraps to grow veggies in the classroom.  Keep reading to find out how.

Learn how to grow celery from food scraps.  All you need is the cut end from a celery stalk, a clear jar or glass, and some clean water.

August 31, 2020

How Do Seeds Travel? + STEM Activity

In an earlier post (What Happens When You Plant Birdseed?), I described a science experiment in which some children in the neighborhood and I grew plants from birdseed this summer.  The children 'discovered' that birdseed can produce plants and those plants are able to grow and thrive.  In this blog post, I will describe another science experiment involving seeds.  This time we are going to learn about how seeds can travel!

Dirty Socks is a science experiment that demonstrates how seeds can travel by hitching themselves to clothing & animal fur. You only need clean socks!

August 29, 2020

Germs vs. Soap by Didi Dragon + STEM Activity

Handwashing is a vital skill for children to learn.  Their hands come into contact with countless germs each day.  This is especially problematic when children put their hands in their mouths or touch their eyes.  Handwashing is the best defense against spreading germs.  Germs vs. Soap by Didi Dragon (affiliate link to Amazon) is a fictional story based on facts.  It teaches children why they need to wash their hands and the right way to wash them.  Keep reading to learn more about Germs vs. Soap and about an enlightening science demonstration that makes children WANT to wash their hands the right way!

Learn about germs and the importance of washing your hands with this simple science demonstration and by reading Germs vs. Soap by Didi Dragon.

August 25, 2020

What Happens When You Plant Birdseed? + STEM Activity

Earlier this summer, I had an interesting conversation with one of the children in my neighborhood.  She wondered out loud if birdseed were 'real seeds' and if they could be planted the same way 'real seeds' could be.  This set the stage for a fun, month-long science experiment in which we tried to answer the question... what happens when you plant birdseed?

Use the scientific process to answer the question... What happens when you plant birdseed? A simple science experiment that requires minimal materials.

August 23, 2020

STEM and General Science Materials to Keep in Your Kitchen

You don't have to have expensive science equipment to engage children in meaningful science activities at home.  In fact, you don't have to spend much money at all.  In this blog post, I'll share with you five items that you may already have in your kitchen.  If you don't have them already, you can find them in grocery stores and dollar stores near you.

A compilation of five household ingredients in your kitchen that you can use for science experiments. You might have them already in your cabinets!
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2014.)

August 14, 2020

The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola + STEM Activity

Many 2nd and 3rd grade students learn about clouds in their science classes.  They learn about how clouds are formed in the atmosphere, what the different types are, and what each type forecasts.  If your students need to learn about clouds in your class, keep reading.  In this blog post, I'll introduce you to The Cloud Book (affiliate link to Amazon) by Tomie dePaola and a twist on a traditional cloud craft.

Learn about the different types of clouds with The Cloud Book written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola then make a model with this simple craftivity.

August 11, 2020

What is STEM Education?

STEM education is becoming increasingly popular in our school systems.  Students often take STEM classes and participate in STEM activities at school.  What is STEM and why is it so important?  Read on to find out!

What is STEM? STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Learn more about STEM education and why it's important.