Monday, July 1, 2013

STEM- challenge 1

What is STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Why does that matter? Because my school is going to be Liberty STEM Academy in the fall.
How will I do that? I am not totally sure and I don't know that many teachers at my building are.

In January, I visited a STEM school with my principal and two other teachers. After seeing their school, here is my take... what I am doing in kindergarten probably won't change a whole lot. Obviously, kids have to learn to read and write... and younger grades, like kindergarten and pre-k, is where that starts to take shape. I think older grades (3-5) may have a harder time transitioning to this since everything they seem the eat, breathe, and sleep is state testing. I digress... For my classroom, I see more hands on projects that relate to topics we already cover and more independent learning/exploring for the friends. This learning/exploring will be harder for them because many are used to a grown up swooping in and giving them the answer instead of letting them problem solve.

Anywho, on with a story about my little sweeties and our attempt at kindergarten engineering...
My first grade teacher friend inspired me to introduce some simple engineering feats to my kindergartners. She was telling me how she had her firsties build a house out of paper that had to stand up. I thought, "why can't my friends do that?" To which I answered myself saying, "duh. You haven't pushed them to do it." So, we built a house out of paper.

I told the friends we were going to build a house out of paper, scissors, tape, and a pencil. Immediately, they said, "How do I do it?", "I don't know how!", or [my favorite] "I can't!". {to which I immediate respond with, "you are an AmeriCAN, not an ameriCANT. Stop saying you can't do something."}

One of my first friends that said she couldn't was one of the first to make her house stand. She drew a house on her paper, cut it out, and then folded it in half so it would prop itself up. I didn't say how it had to stand, just that it could stand. When we finished, there were 9 houses standing out of 18. Some houses were flat like mentioned before, others were round-ish and a couple were square with a flat roof on top. The next day when the kids came back, some of them were determined to see if they could get their house to stand.

We are on our way to engineering...


  1. "This learning/exploring will be harder for them because many Erne used to a grown up swooping in and giving them the answer instead of letting them problem solve."

    Do you have a friend named "Erne"? :)

  2. I,m an so inpressed with the ideas you teachers come up with today. I don't know what ERNE is but, but keep teaching as you do and ouir children and grand childre a nd great great children will always remember thier first teacher. love all you young teachers, keep up the good work. the old man

  3. many ARE used to having a grown up swoop in and fix the problem for them. Maybe I need Pa and Rachel to edit for me? :)