As we celebrate holidays, use the holiday theme to create STEM activities. For this week look for an experiment around your Elf on the Shelf. If you have upper elementary children, read the book by Larissa Juliano How to Build an Elf Trap. Help them choose a trap to build. If you have younger children give them some string and pipe cleaners (to be the harness) to figure out how to move the Elf on the Shelf from a higher spot to the ground safely. Your students/children will love figuring this out.
If you are writing holiday cards and have teenagers assisting you, give them the task to determine the type of adhesive on postage stamps or the way that the LED Keeper and incandescent version (red) work to repair lights on decorations that appear to be burned out. The inventor faced the frustration of having lights on decorations burn out that forced him to spend hours searching for the problem in the light set. This tool uses science and math to solve a problem for less than $25.
Remember STEM is about creating learning experiences for children about things that matter to them. When the problem is a problem worth solving, they will engage, read, do math, ask questions and be persistent about solving that problem.
About the author: Dr. Cindy Moss is a nationally respected thought leader in STEM education and reform. Dr. Moss brings over 31 years experience in district leadership, classroom instruction and inquiry based learning to her work as a champion for STEM engagement and career & workforce readiness. Learn more about Dr. Moss here and follow her on Twitter at @STEMboss
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