STEM Buddies

This year, one of my co-workers, Eryn Welch (fabulous, fabulous teacher!!!!), and I decided we would pair up our classes for STEM buddies! I teach first grade and she teaches kindergarten--so we saw this as a great multi-age opportunity for our kiddos to work together! It gives my first graders the chance to be role models and big helpers--which they love. We meet three times a month on Friday's for an hour to collaborate, think critically, problem solve, reflect and...HAVE FUN! It also gives me the opportunity to work with Eryn and learn from her as an educator--she has fantastic classroom management and I am always borrowing stealing ideas from her :) 

So now, I want to take this opportunity to share an awesome primary (but really...I could see any grade using this resource...even as a team builder for educators!) STEM resource. It comes from one of my favorite educators that I follow, Brooke Brown, who runs a blog called Teach Outside the Box. On Teachers Pay Teachers, you can find her 9 month STEM Challenges bundle--and it will not disappoint. Brooke's bundle includes 27 STEM challenges (3 per month)--they come with detailed instructions, photos of sample solutions, teacher tips and guides, vocabulary cards and student recording sheets. What she has put together is simply amazing...the monthly resources are themed and the kids have a BLAST with them!! Thank you so much, Brooke, for sharing your knowledge and resources with us. 

Last year, my first grade class completed the challenges and had SO much fun. I watched not only their problem solving skills improve before my eyes, but their social skills. They worked in groups and practiced explaining their ideas/thoughts respectfully, having an open mind and compromising. Those are some 21st century skills they need to be successful contributors to society :) My class this year is challenged a little bit more by working with the kindergartners--and it's been great! Eryn and I created a Google Doc and we buddied up our kids. Each time we get together, they find their buddy and get right to work! It's nice to see the relationships form and how much more comfortable they get as the weeks progress. At the beginning of each month, Eryn and I take a few minutes to decide what order we will do the tasks in, what materials we need (a total b.o.n.u.s. about STEM challenges--most of the resources you need are already somewhere in your classroom), and then when it's time to meet we get together and watch the ideas our kiddos have come to life!

Enough of my blabbing, check out some of the pictures from last year and this year STEM successes! Then go and grab Brooke's bundle and start challenging your students :) You might also want to check out my Makerspace post, which makes these STEM challenges much easier to manage (less set up and work for me). 




Happy Teaching! 

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