Do you celebrate each holiday? I try to incorporate fun themes into our school day to add a little pizzazz to our routine. Not only actual holidays like Valentine’s Day or Easter but also seasonal themes like winter, spring, gardening, and basketball. That is why I was so excited for the opportunity to review STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading by Tied 2 Teaching.
This packet holds a full year’s worth of creative STEM activities organized by month and monthly themes. The challenges are aimed at students in grades three through six; however, my second grader loved the activities and with a little help was able to do a lot of the book work, too!
The Close Reading
Each project is designed to challenge both their reading and comprehension skills as well as their design and problem-solving skills. Using a QR Code app on my iPhone, I scanned the QR code, which took me right to the reading passage from Wonderopolis that corresponds to the lesson. You can also go directly to Wonderopolis, which is a truly wonderful resource of non-fiction information for kids. My students listened to the text, and we discussed and answered the questions together. The kids then spent some time thinking through their design using the ASK. IMAGINE. PLAN. CREATE. IMPROVE model. The workbook guides them through this process.
Once they plan and design their project, we test it and ask questions:
- What worked well?
- What didn’t work well?
- What can I do to improve my design to make it work better or be more efficient?
After some modifications, we test again. We are now true scientists!
Most of the materials needed to complete the most of the builds are common household and craft supplies. Once the materials have been gathered, the challenge is pretty much open-and-go. I printed each student a copy of the challenge packet, and we went through it page-by-page together.
These challenges can span different ages and abilities. You can do them with younger students — read aloud the text and answer questions together. You can do it with several students at once and let each one do what they are capable of. You can challenge older students have them read and complete the project independently. You also have the option to use the workbook or not. Whatever your situation, you can make it work. Here are some of the challenges we did:
Leprechaun Trap Challenge
Using whatever materials you want, design an innovative trap that is capable of trapping a pesky leprechaun.
Foil Boat Challenge
Using only one 12 x 18 piece of foil, design a boat that will float. Count how many pennies it can hold.
Rainbow Bridge Challenge
Using straws, build a rainbow bridge that can support the weight of a pot of fold containing 50 pennies.
STEM Fun for a Whole Year
Each month has 4 challenges that correspond to holidays and events that happen during the month. Along with the 48 monthly activities, the STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading also includes building challenges and bonus challenges. Check out examples of each project below:
- 100th Day of School STEM Challenge – SPAGHETTI TOWER Design Challenge
- Marshmallow Snowman Challenge
- CIVIL RIGHTS MONUMENT Design Challenge
- Sled Design Challenge
- Valentines Day STEM Challenge – Cupid’s Bow Design
- Groundhog Day STEM Challenge – Groundhog Burrow Design Challenge
- Valentines STEM Challenge – Love Bug Design Challenge
- Presidents Day STEM Challenge – Lincoln’s Cabin Challenge
- St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge – Build a Leprechaun Trap
- Basketball Tower STEM Challenge
- St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge – Build a Rainbow Bridge
- New Hat for Cat Challenge Read Across America STEM
- Jelly Bean Tower Challenge
- Easter STEM Challenge Design a Carrot Carriage
- Earth Day STEM Challenge – Design Something Useful
- Earth Day STEM Challenge – Upcycled Birdhouse
- House of Cards Challenge
- Doghouse Design Challenge
- Alien Spacecraft Challenge
- Airplane Design Challenge
- Building Block Tower Challenge
- Index Card Skyscraper Challenge
- Paper Table Challenge
- BONUS Building Block Challenge MEGA PACK
- Spider Web Design Challenge
- Witch’s Parachute Halloween STEM Challenge
- Bone Bridge Challenge
- Sugar Cube Arch Challenge
- Parade Balloon Challenge
- Thanksgiving Table Challenge
- Cranberry Tower Challenge
- Pilgrim Shelter Challenge
- Cardboard Reindeer Challenge
- Funky Christmas Ornament Challenge
- Straw Christmas Tree Challenge
- Christmas Tree Tower
- Build a Dinosaur
- Build a Nation’s Flag
- Design a New Bug
- Build the Eiffel Tower
- Design a Superhero
- Design a Toilet Paper Dispenser
- Design a Cactus Paperweight
- Build a UFO
- Build a Treasure Chest
- Design a Totem Pole
- 100th Day of School Glasses
- 100th Day of School Crayon Tower
- Kingdom Hearts Valentines Castle
- Candy Heart Tower
- Design a Candy Box
Purchased separately, these challenges cost $3 each, but right now, if you purchase the bundle, you get all 62+ challenges for $30!
Have you tried any of the STEM activities from Tied 2 Teaching? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Check out more review from the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the banner below.
Till Next Time,