First Grade STEAM Projects 12 – 15

[Each week Ms. Darea’s first grade class has a STEAM lesson that crosses the curriculum and lasts all week.  Here is what Ms. Darea had to say about Project #12-15.]

For this STEAM project, the students began by examining some pop-up books that I had brought it.  Then, they had to design a page for a pop-up book.  The students were partnered and assigned a planet.  They had to use a book we read in Guided Reading to find two facts about their planet (or sun) and include those facts on their pop-up page.  They did awesome!

For this STEAM project the children were given a bag with a small square piece of paper, q-tips, half q-tips, and just the tips of some q-tips.  They were told that they had make a skeleton using only the items in their bag and they had to use all of the items in their bag.  They also had to include a spine, ribs, collar bones, two major arm bones, two major leg bones, and fingers.  I was pretty impressed with how well they were able to solve this problem.

We spent a week celebrating Dr. Seuss so I decided that for Friday’s STEAM project they could pretend they were illustrators and create a new Dr. Seuss creature.  Before we started, we went through the Dr. Seuss book Oh The Thinks You Can Think.  We talked about how some of the characters looked like a combination of different animals.  Their task was to find two or three animals from nonfiction books and magazines to base their creation after.  They had to write down the animals they were using and list five characteristics of those animals on their paper.  Then, they had to create their creature using these characteristics of other animals and make a name for them.  When they were all finished, we shared them and listed them under the categories of animals they would fit under.  Then, we made a tally chart of different animal types and discussed why most of the creatures had mammal parts.  Mammals are the most familiar animals with first grade.  Amphibians are the least recognized animals.

This was a cool one.  I didn’t even realize it was STEM until we were well into it.  On the day before this experiment, we tested different object to determine if they would float or sink in the tub of water.  On this day, the students took an item from the previous day that floated (wood) and found ways to make it sink (adding weight).  Then, they had to find a way to make the magnetic ball float, the big die float, and then both of those objects float together.  Each group of students were given a ball of clay and the baggie with the objects in them.  Some kids tried using the piece of wood as a raft.  This didn’t work. Everyone tried to make a boat out of the clay. They realized that the sides of the boat needed to be high enough to keep the water out.  Most groups were able to fashion their clay into strong boats to float both objects.  One group had some trouble with this, but realized that their plastic baggie could be used to float the items!  After figuring out how to float both objects in their boat, one group decided to try enclosing their objects within the boat and only leaving a tiny opening.  This boat sunk to the bottom of the bin.  When I asked this group about why it sank, they decided that the objects took up all the air inside the boat!  When we cleaned up, we watched the Ripley’s Believe it or Not video about a man who built his own island by building a raft on top of lots of water bottles.  One student said, “I know why he needed to add the water bottles!  The weight of the sand he put on his island would have made his raft sink!”


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