STEM and literacy go hand in hand and are easier to use together than you may think. Whether you are a classroom teacher looking for ways to incorporate STEM learning into your lesson plans, or a STEM teacher looking for ways to do some cross-curricular activities in your classroom, STEM literacy activities are the perfect way to meld STEM and literacy in engaging ways! I am really excited to introduce you to my NEW Simple STEM Stories activities and share examples of how I use some really cute and engaging books as themes for hands-on STEM activities in my classroom.
What Are Simple STEM Stories?
Simple STEM Stories are hands-on STEM activities that align with a specific book. It's a fantastic way to combine literacy with STEM learning. These activities are great to use with a whole group or as part of a center activity. These themed activities are a great way to encourage students to hypothesize and reflect on their challenges in thoughtful ways.
As a classroom teacher you can use Simple STEM Stories as part of a book study in your classroom. Incorporate your typical reading skills and strategies throughout the week. Then wrap it all up with a STEM activity on Friday.
As a STEM teacher, you can do the book read aloud and activity in your classroom too! Don't have time for the read aloud? Talk with the classroom teacher or school librarian to see if they are able to help out. Your students will love connecting a read aloud from class to a STEM activity during enrichment
Step 1: Choose a Book
There are so many amazing children's books available. They not only teach valuable life lessons but also go perfectly with STEM activities! I am so excited to be able to use some of my favorite children's books to with STEM activities in these Simple STEM Stories.
The book The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill teaches students about healthy ways to handle bullies. The book is perfect for STEM challenges because of the setting of the story. Every kid loves the playground! Why not have them complete a challenge to design a new piece of playground equipment?
Your students will love getting to design something for the playground. You are going to be amazed at the creativity that your students show.
The Pigeon Has To Go To School by Mo Willems is a wonderful back to school book and a great book for a STEM challenge. This book helps students overcome a fear of going to school. After reading this book, challenge students to create a mode of transportation for Pigeon. But to get them thinking outside the box of the school bus, this resource includes real-life pictures of different types of school transportation from around the world. Once your students see that the big yellow bus is not used everywhere, they will be ready to start designing. The STEM activity for this story challenges students to think about different types of transportation and create a way to get that silly pigeon to school.
These two books, perfect for the first weeks of the school year, are the start of the Simple STEM Stories line. I can't wait to share more Simple STEM Stories with you!
Picking your book is just the first step!
Step 2: The Engineering Design Process
The Simple STEM Stories activities use the engineering design process. The engineering design process helps students work through the process of creating a prototype based on a question or challenge relating to the book.
This design process is something students will use all year long! So there's no better time to introduce them to the engineering design process. The more students practice these steps the easier they will become.
My students have become so familiar with working through the engineering design process, that they automatically know they will have to improve and make changes to their prototypes throughout the course of a project.
Step 3: Making Connections
One of my favorite things about the Simple STEM Stories is the real-world connections that are made. For example, in the book The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, the setting of the story is a school playground. Because of this, you can use a real-world STEM challenge based on the playground at your school! With challenges like building your own piece of playground equipment, students are able to see just how STEM and the design process affects the world around them.
When students are able to connect their learning to real-world situations, you will find them more eager to learn. There's something about taking academic practice and connecting it to real life that makes students engage at a different level. It's also a great way for students to see why school and what they are learning is so useful in life.
Step 4: Celebrate Success
If you have ever had your students complete a STEM challenge, you know success looks a little different. I love watching my students fill with pride as they work through a STEM challenge. There is a real sense of ownership that is hard to replicate with other activities.
When they trust the process, students will soon realize that the measurement of success isn't all about the finished product. It's more about the process of getting there and what they learned along the way.
By using stickers and certificates, I can reward my students for all of their hard work. This is also a great way to get kids to talk about the process of working through a STEM challenge! They love showing off their stickers and certificates to their families.
Literacy and STEM Activities for the Win!
This new series, Simple STEM Stories, is the perfect way to integrate literacy and STEM into your lesson plans. I am looking forward to sharing more Simple STEM Stories sets with you in the future. You can find these first Simple STEM Stories in my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.
You can also find the Bundle that will have ALL of the Simple STEM Stories included. Grab the growing bundle at the beginning, and you will end up saving a lot of money in the long run! As new activities are added to the bundle, the price will go up. If you buy the bundle now, you get all future activities for FREE!
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