Fairy Tale STEM part two

In the first part of this post, I shared some pictures from our challenges based on the Three Little Pigs and Rapunzel. In part two I am sharing more of our fairy tale STEM projects.

3. Goldilocks

After reviewing the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the first-grade classes engineered a bed for Goldilocks. I told students that she went back and apologized, they became friends, and sometimes she would sleep over at the Bears' house. Of course, this meant building her a bed just right for her. After printing and laminating pictures of Goldilocks, I taped six pennies to the back. This provided some weight to the figure so that the bed had to be sturdy enough. What I didn't tell them before was that I also have Bears to test -- they loved that part! Papa Bear had 3 large washers on the back, Mama Bear had two, and Baby Bear had one. Sometimes the Papa Bear collapsed the bed and they had to modify their design.



I love that many of them wanted to make sure Goldilocks has a pillow and covers on her bed. They also wanted to decorate it for her!

I also expected them to draw their bed before building. This was the first time and all the grade levels added that part of the engineering design process except Kindergarten. I have a crate with hanging folders for each grade level. Each folder has a teacher's name so we can keep their drawings.

Using fairy tales turned out to be a favorite of the students and will definitely be part of next year's plans.

Happy STEMing!


Fairy Tale STEM

One of my favorite things to do with STEM lessons is to use a book hook. Right now I am in a unit where I am using classic fairy tales with my kids. I look for a youtube video that I can show, because I can't stand reading a story over and over again for two weeks!

Here are the activities that we have been doing. We have finished the first week (with a two day interruption of school due to Hurricane Matthew) and have another week to go.

1. The Three Little Pigs

My kindergarten students were challenged to build a house for the little pig that the Big Bad Wolf could not blow down.


They tried a variety of materials and when they had a house built I came by with the Wolf - a hair dryer with a picture of the Wolf taped on. Hilarity ensued!

2. Rapunzel

Third graders are working on a way for Rapunzel to escape from the tower - without help from the prince.


Next week - more fairy tales! Happy teaching.


STEM Lab: part 4

Two of my biggest challenges starting out this year was planning for kindergarten and making modifications for the three ASD (autism spectrum) classes. While I have six years of experience teaching K, I must admit I had forgotten that the beginning of the year is an experience in herding cats!

After the first day of school I realized I needed to come up with something very simple for the kindergarten classes. Something that would help me introduce STEM and establish the classroom rules and routines. Fortunately my cupboards of supplies includes several boxes of duplo blocks. Students were thrilled to have the opportunity to play and build.


I have three classes of students with autism. They are divided into K/1, 2/3, and 4/5. Each class comes with one of the grade level classes. As you may guess, the students vary greatly in their abilities so my challenge is to not only get to know the individual students but also to determine who needs a modification to the activities we are doing. In each class there are one or two students who are much lower functioning than the others. The assistants who come with the class will pull out alternate activities that I have ready - like the duplos - for those students. The other students participate in the grade level activity. The assistants and I help where needed, but many of them do just fine on their own. These kids are amazing, and I am thoroughly enjoying having them in the classroom.

Happy teaching!

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