STEM in a Baggie: How to do STEM Activities on a Budget
STEM has been an exciting idea in the classroom in recent years. The idea is to incorporate
science, technology, engineering and math into your learning. As teachers strive to find ways to encourage out of the box thinking, STEM challenges have become a go to in the classroom. But, STEM activities can be expensive and time consuming to set up. I decided to make some STEM packages that focus on using supplies that can be purchased in large quantities for a low price or can be recycled from your home. I also wanted the items to fit into a zippered sandwich baggie.
I love to do seasonal activities to break up my own school day. So I started with this packet of six Thanksgiving STEM challenges. Today I invited a group of children from my homeschool co-op to join us for a STEM day. I set up the room with stations for each STEM activity. The students worked their way around the room trying each of the activities. They had a great time engineering solutions to the scenarios. And I had an even better time watching them and their creative thinking.
The bulk of my STEM items could be purchased in the office supply aisle. I gave the students limited supplies of 3X5 index cards, rubber bands, paper clips and paper fasteners. I also gathered supplies from the craft department. They were given pipe cleaners, small beads, and craft sticks of a variety of sizes. The best part is the "tape". I used name tag labels and colored dot stickers. These items can be purchased very cheaply especially during the fall back to school months. It is so much better than a roll of tape! Finally, I needed a few seasonal items to round out the day: candy corn, candy pumpkins and cranberries.
The students ranged in age from 8 to 13. I let each student choose 3 of the stations to work at today. They were given 30 minutes at each table to work on a solution. They seemed to enjoy all of them. The older students really came up with creative solutions to "feed the turkeys". The younger ones struggled a bit with building the table for the "Thanksgiving feast". But my favorite by far was watching them "harvest the cranberries".
If you would like to host your own STEM day this month, head over to my store and try my
latest product "STEM Activities in a Baggie: Thanksgiving Edition". It includes 6 full color Thanksgiving themed scenario cards. Each card comes in two sizes, full page and half page, for versatility. The challenges themselves can be used in a variety of ways. You could do a one day STEM rotation like I did. You could use the full sized pages as posters in a STEM center. Place the baggies into containers and set them out on a bookshelf for the kids to use. Or have STEM Friday afternoons. Choose one activity to complete each week. Each challenge includes the suggested items to include in the bags and instructions for setting up the challenge. I hope your kids enjoy these as much as mine did!