This year I am trying a new thing call STEM Family Project. It is a pack that I found on Teacher Pay Teachers by the same author as the STEM bins that STEM@Schall is using this year in our grant. Basically at the beginning of each month I send home a two sided paper with what the challenge project is and a few short questions about design process. Students have until the end of the month to use their engineering minds and creativity to make anything they want as long as it is in the general category listed. For our first month the project was to make a model of a building or shelter. Students were allowed to work with family members and could use any type of construction material they wanted. Both students and families really seemed to enjoy the task. Although many used similar materials, there were no two structures that were the same. There were also some amazing details added. One of the Lego houses had hinges to open and see the inside. One of the popsicle houses included handmade stick furniture. One shoe box home was a hospital complete with helicopter landing pad, reception area with mini clipboards for paperwork, and rooms were the sick were being treated. There were also a couple of functional bird houses and even a teepee for a cat.
As part of the project grade students are expected to give a presentation about what they created. For this first month they were allowed to choose to use their chromebooks to either take a photo and write a caption in complete sentences or take a short video where they explained what they had done. These were posted to their StudentStory Digital Portfolios on ClassDojo so not only can I look back at them to grade, but their parents are also able to share in the experience.
For the month of October, in honor of Halloween, we are creating something useful that includes candy somewhere in it. I have already been asked if they can eat them when we finish. This could get sticky. ☺
That's Elementary Explains is a teacher with almost 2 decades of teaching experience and a technology degree who is still trying to figure out the new and unexplained.