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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

STEM/STEAM Birthday and Challenge

What does STEM or STEAM have to do with a birthday party?  Well, my daughters birthday had several things that connected with those themes.  Yup, even when I am just being a mom- I still throw in some learning!!!  Ha, ha kids, you thought you were coming to eat cake and run sorry, you have to learn too.  Evil laugh- mmmuhhhuhhhuh.
My youngest kiddo turned 8 on July 14th (Bastille Day in France-similar to our 4th of July) and we celebrated with a Bastille themed party.
We had painting at the Louvre (A- art):

Engineering challenges related to da Vinci (I know he was Italian but he lived in France in the 1500's) or the Eiffel tower (E- engineering and math too):

French games (art and math):
Escargot- similar to hopscotch but with a twist that requires planning of squares and strategy. Sidewalk art with chalk- attempted 3D work.
And of course fashion!  They had a challenge to create an outfit from varying inspiration and/or a cricket (similar to baseball) uniform at the Avenue des Champs-Elysees (ok, just art on this one):

My daughters had a great time.  I thought that some of this would translate nicely in the classroom.  I am going to be adding in a variety of STEM activities in the class this year.  I thought the engineering activities we did with the K'nex would work perfectly for a variety of challenges.  It allows a ton of questions that help the child creating think about their engineered product.  I spoke with one kiddo about his creation and he said he made a helicopter car.  I said "Great, what would it be used for or how could it help someone?"  He said, "If you are driving and get to a road that ends at the water, you could fly over it."  His mom added a funny remark about flying over traffic too!  Clever kiddos.  I talked with him and the person he created with about the size of the helicopter blades.  They were very short.  I asked if the blades would be long enough to carry the weight of the car.  They stopped to think.
I enjoy doing activities that allow kids time to think, create, change, think again, fix, and then showcase what they have created.  Children have such a wonderful capacity for creating.  I love watching what they can do!
At each station I had a write up about the challenges that I hoped they would try.  I have a freebie of those challenges.  Feel free to use them as is or edit them to your own style.
Click here for the freebie.
None of the fonts/graphics were purchased- just found online or already available on the computer.  So, I don't have anyone to credit.

Here is the final challenge week!  I will change the final date to the 29th as I am 2 days late posting the challenge.

Nope!!!  I decided to show you something else.  Here is my massive backyard makeover.

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