STEM Challenge Fun

“What’s the challenge today, Mrs. Visser?  Why can’t we do it right now?” is what I hear first thing in the morning.

The goals of the last few weeks of school are to enjoy each other and continue learning amidst the crazy end of year feelings.  We are definitely doing that and more by doing STEM Challenges each day.  I have found that when we spend our days researching, designing, building, testing, and improving things that interest us we are doing more than just having fun.  We are learning how to collaborate with others, communicate, use critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Much of what is needed on a daily basis in this global-technology-centered world.

The Lego Boat Challenge was fun to observe because the kids worked together so well!  They would test the boat and look for ways to improve the boat so that it would float.  Not to mention, it tied very nicely into the theme of our little world with all this rain!

Using YouTube Kids to see lego design to help us plan. Creating our own designs.

It was really cute when I asked a student if they had planned out their design to hear, “Actually, we are building it as we design and making changes as we go.”  Isn’t that what we do sometimes?  

The time to test has come!  The winning boat was small, solid, and rectangular without any extra decorative items.   

Place Value War

Just having a little Wednesday fun in math! Each group chose their own challenge today. Love giving and having choice! I think my firsties are ready for second. 😢

Math and Technology

I thought I would share a little of the math we are doing in our classroom and link it to the technology being used.  Here are a few things we did this past week.

Writing our own story problems from an equation given using Pic Collage.  

During Math Workshop, the students draw a card that gives an amount of money and show they represent that amount of money with a picture and numbers using Schoolkit Math.  Since we are only officially counting like coins and not mixed, this takes it a step up to challenge those students ready for it!
Google Drive saves the day when I was unexpectedly absent on Groundhog Day.  I sent the sub a few activities to reinforce skills learned and had them send them to their Google Drive folder for me to check during the day!  Accountability at its best!

Every morning when they come in the first thing after unpacking is to get their iPad and take a picture of this blank page.  They go into Doceri and work on this from the number I have given them for the day.  They send this to their Google Drive Math folder after completing it!  Great way to reinforce number sense.

Telling Time

 Telling time has never worked better than when we use our own bodies!!  As we listened to the secret story I told about the clock hands, we acted out each part in twos.  It clicked so much faster than just using the clock!  I love movement learning!!

Composing and Decomposing Numbers

The students learned a new term this week:  App Smashing!  I think they knew what it was, but didn’t know the term or know they were doing this.

We composed numbers with base ten blocks using the app Number Basics.  After taking a picture of this, they imported their pictures into the app Popplet and showed it in number form.  Then we went further to work on expanded form and some took it further to show greater than.  This was on their own, so we are still working on this concept because we have not officially introduced the signs yet.

What I love is that we worked at OUR OWN levels of comfort to compose and decompose numbers this week using these apps during our Must Do/Workshop time.  While I was checking groups on counting by 5s, 10s, and so on they were working on this on their own.  They are becoming more independent right before my very eyes!

It doesn’t stop there!  After they created this in Popplet, they sent it to their Google Drive folder labeled Math so that I could check it.  Another awesome thing about Google Drive is the accountability it provides, as well as the amazing portfolio through the year.  Here are some of their examples.

These first graders just make me smile!