Keep the Rain Out: William’s Screen-Free Real World STEM Challenge
“Challenges are what makes life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Joshua J. Marine
STEM education and the idea of following a design process ( plan, create, test, ask, redesign) isn’t just something I’ve integrated into my classroom lesson plans. My husband and I encourage our children to to maintain a growth mindset in all challenges that come their way.
Yesterday I gave my son the pretend, yet also ‘Real World’ challenge, to design and build a roof that will keep the inside of the house dry. I used materials from a great little STEM kit I found on sale at Lakeshore Learning.
Before I asked William to create the roof, we visited our local library and did a little research. We found books about roofs, architecture, and different types of weather.
We talked about concepts and ideas that related to the challenge such as what roofs look like, what they are used for, how they work, and why weather is an important factor to consider while designing a roof.
I asked William to first make a plan and gave him a copy of the project sheet provided by Lakeshore Learning to make it ‘official.’ As you can see, he happily created the plan, tested it, and realized it didn’t work.
He was excited to try again. It was back to the drawing board ( another photocopied project sheet) for plan number two!
This time his roof was effective in keeping the rain out and he was very excited!
He also decided he would really become an architect someday and made a picture to show what his whole house would look like, since he was only able to create the roof for this challenge.
We had so much fun with this kit and our library books. It reminded me of a Cooperative Group STEM Challenge I included while writing my book Educate the Heart: Screen-Free Activities for Grades PreK-6 to Inspire Authentic Learning.
Chapter 6 of Educate the Heart is dedicated to embracing STEM education and one of the activities is called “Camping Chaos.” It requires groups of students to create a shelter for a group of friends ( cut-out paper people) that will keep them dry if it rains while they are out camping and it a great way to encourage collaboration, accountable talk, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
For more information on this activity or STEM integration, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment, messaging me on twitter, Instagram, or any social media platform. I’d love to connect further and will get back to you in a timely fashion.
Thank you so much for your time and attention! You are greatly appreciated!