Back to School STEM Challenges

STEM challenges are the best way to begin building classroom community and teamwork at the beginning of the year. They are also a great way to introduce problem solving skills and get students thinking creatively and outside the box. 

The best part is students LOVE them, and they don't even realize they are learning!

The following are our top 5 picks for back to school STEM activities.

How to Teach Growth Mindset with STEAM

Growth mindset is the idea that the brain is like a muscle that continues to grow with practice. This is in contrast to the idea of a fixed mindset, which is the belief that your intelligence and talents are fixed traits that cannot be improved over time.

According to research, students with a growth mindset are more likely to try hard things and persevere through difficult task. This is why growth mindset is such an important lesson to teach and help students develop.

5 Myths About Makerspaces

There are many misconceptions about what a makerspace is and what is required to set up and run a successful space. Unfortunately many of these misconceptions create unnecessary barriers for teachers looking to set up a makerspace.

The following are 5 myths that hold teachers back from setting up a makerspace or using their makerspace to its full potential. If you are looking at getting started with makerspaces be sure to sign up for our FREE Building a Makerspace E-mail Course

Building Teamwork at the Beginning of the Year with STEM

Did you know that STEM activities are a great way to build classroom community and teamwork at the beginning of the year?

Unfortunately,  STEM challenges can tend to be used as a classroom competition where students and groups are competing against each other. While classroom competitions can be fun, the goal of STEM should be to encourage a growth mindset in students.

How do we accomplish this?

First Week of School Read Alouds

It's a fact..teachers love books! Discovering new read alouds is always an exciting adventure. The following are my favorite first week of school read alouds. Most of these titles have lesson ideas that go along with them. You can find the coordinating lesson plans and activities in our First Week of School Lesson Plans resource.  

For a break down of how these books can be used to jump start a successful first week of school be sure to download our FREE First Week of School Schedule!

5 Things to Do Before the End of the Year

The end of the year is definitely one of the busiest times for teachers. With packing, checklists, filling out technology and supply inventories, and not to mention trying to keep a classroom full of students engaged and yourself sane.

While it may seem like you can not add one more thing to your plate, if you are able to get all or at least some of these 5 things done you will set yourself up for a less stressful beginning of the year next year.

Making Slime in the Classroom Tips and Tricks is a sticky, squishy, messy substance, and kids love it!

I have to admit that I was that teacher that tended to avoid "messy learning" in the classroom. Fortunately, over the years, I learned to embrace some mess and craziness for the sake of student engagement and learning. 

With the following tips and tricks you can engage students in learning about states of matter with slime while limiting the mess.   

Mother's Day STEM and Writing Activities

Mother's Day has definitely taken on a whole new meaning for Adam and I over the past couple years with the arrival of our daughter who will be two this month. We are also expecting a baby boy in September. 

As I started brainstorming educational and fun gift ideas students could make for Mother's Day, I began by thinking of what I would like to receive. This led me to the idea of...BATH BOMBS!

Growing a Self-sustaining Plant Ecosystem

Growing a self-sustaining plant ecosystem in the classroom is a fun and hands-on way to teach students about ecosystems as well as the water cycle. To complete this experiment you will need clear plastic 2 liter bottles, seeds or small plants, soil, water, scissors, and tape. 

5 Reasons to Use Boom Cards™ in Your Classroom

Have you ever discovered something new and thought to yourself "Where have you been all my life?!?" This was my exact thought when I first found out about digital Boom Cards™ created by Boom Learning. 

I'm sure you have probably heard about task cards, and you may even use them in your classroom. Well, Boom Cards are a time-saving, digital version of task cards. If you are not already using Boom Cards in your classroom here are 5 reasons why you should be!

Setting Up a MakerSpace

So you are interested in setting up a makerspace?! Congratulations on taking the first step by doing some research. If a makerspace is properly set up and introduced, it can be a great tool for igniting student imagination and curiosity as well as building classroom community. Unfortunately, if the makerspace has not been set up with the students in mind, it will not be the student-centered and student-driven space it needs to be.

The Best STEM Challenges for Easter

Easter is such a fun time of year in the classroom. There are so many educational activities that can be done around those little plastic eggs, Peeps, and jelly beans. While I don't particularly care to eat jelly beans or Peeps, they do make for a great STEM activity!

The following are four engaging classroom STEM activities that are perfect for the Easter season.

Making the Most of Your MakerSpace

A makerspace is a place in a classroom, library, or other common area of a school where students are encouraged to create, tinker, explore, discover, and invent using a variety of tools and materials. Effective makerspaces have been shown to foster peer-to-peer interaction as well as help students build confidence and take ownership of their learning. With so many benefits to the makerspace it is no wonder why they have taken off.