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STEM CHALLENGES: Holiday Edition

STEM CHALLENGES: Holiday Edition
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I teach at a STEM/STEAM school and we do tons of different activities that integrate math, science and art. Creating these materials and then seeing them used in the classroom by my super excited class of firsties was a dream come true!
These challenges would be best for first or second grade students. Kindergarten teachers would need to supervise their students while they performed the investigations.

Here's what I have in this unit.

SINK & FLOAT WITH ORANGES
Essential Question: Will an orange sink or float?
Problem: The elves must help Santa get some oranges to a family of fish that live at the bottom of a very deep lake. The elves can not swim down. The fish can not come to the surface of the water. The oranges must be whole when they reach the bottom. Can this problem be solved?
***Lesson Plan, small group instructions & recording sheet included.

PROBLEM SOLVING WITH SIMPLE MACHINES
Essential Question: How can an object be moved without directly touching it?
Problem: Santa has left some candy canes in the sleigh. The elves must work together to remove them, but they can not touch them. They must use the 'work room tools' provided to them to get as many candy canes as possible.
***Lesson Plan, small group instructions, simple machines mini-anchor charts & recording sheet included.

PROBLEM SOLVING WITH 3 DIGIT ADDITION
Essential Question: Can you make Rudolph's schedule for the week before Christmas?
Problem: Help Rudolph work out a schedule to meet his responsibilities. Follow the rules so that Rudolph is happy and the presents get to where they belong. Students will create a trip schedule that includes three trips per day. They will note the mileage so that Rudolph does not go more than 20 miles per day.
(This was my class' favorite one!!!)
***Lesson Plan, small group instructions, schedule cards, job cards, map pieces & recording sheet included.

EXPERIMENTS WITH COTTON
There are two different experiments that students will do on cotton.
Here they will work on making predictions about the results.
This is a great way to support a deeper understanding of how surface tension works.

MAKING NECKLACES
Essential Question: Can you make a necklace with a clear pattern that is also affordable?
Problem: Santa needs some necklaces for moms. He wants the elves to test out different patterns. He also needs them not to be too expensive. Can you follow his rules and successfully create a necklace that would work?
***Lesson Plan, small group instructions & recording sheet included.

ART
Students will create two different art projects that relate to tissue paper. One is a reindeer. The other is an Eric Carle styled background.

I hope you'll enjoy using these ideas as much as I enjoyed putting them together for my students.

Thanks for taking a peek! :)





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Tamara Russell

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