Tuesday, November 12, 2013

STEM Day Hurricane Houses & Keep it or Junk It

So last year our school decided instead of using our 2 hour early release days as just an abbreviated day, we would take them and turn the whole day into a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) day.  So each month we have 1 day that we do STEM all day.  The kids have so much fun, and so do I.

This month we have been studying weather, and as we wrap us this chapter we are have been talking about severe weather.  Over the last few days we have been talking about hurricanes and the devastation that they can cause.  Well, I was lucky enough to have a friend send me some ideas that she was using for her class STEM days... thus Hurricane Houses were born!  I can't wait to work on these with the kids.

The first thing I did was do a quick Google search and was lucky enough to find a great video on TeachingChannel.org.  Have used this resource yet?  I LOVE it.  There are so many great things there.  The videos are great.  Some are quick, and some take a while, but there are plenty that are quick and painless and lend themselves to so many great ideas.  One of the ideas I used over the last couple of weeks has been called Keep it or Junk it.  It is a really fun reading strategy that we put into use in our Science class.  I really suggest watching this video and trying it out in your class! Plus I found a really cool PDF of the rules/procedures for Keep it or Junk it that you could project and go step by step with over at Mrs. White's 5th Grade Class.  Check it out! Totally Cute!  I think the best part about it is that the lesson really is student centered.  When I did it in my class I ran a bit more of it since it was only our first attempt, but I let them know that they were going to be running it more often than not.

Anchor Chart for Keep it or Junk it

So the other thing I found was a great video that had a teacher making Hurricane Houses.  She went through step by step how she made the houses and how she tested them.  You can find that video here.

After I watched the video I decided to make a PowerPoint to help guide my kiddos through the building process as well as an accountability sheet.  I also found several things online with the American Red Cross that talked about being prepared for a hurricane. 

Here is our plan for tomorrow:

1.  We are going to go through the PowerPoint.
2. Watch the BrainPop on Hurricanes or if you don't have a subscription you can watch something similar on National Geographic for free.
3.  Then each group will get a bag of supplies. The bag includes 2 sheets of construction paper, 5 straws, a Styrofoam base, a glue stick, and 60 centimeters of tape.
4.  They will will plan individually, and then use the accountability sheet to do the final planning and drawing.
5.  Then they will build their houses in groups.
6.  Finally we will take them outside and I will use the leaf blower to test them.

So Below you can find some more freebies.  Feel free to use my ppt and accountability sheet in your classroom!  Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.  I will post pictures when we finish our projects!

PowerPoint to go along with STEM project

Accountability Sheet

Have fun!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention. I love Keep It or Junk It! I was introduced to it by our instructional coach and knew I would use it often. It took a little longer than expected but well worth the time!