STEAM · story · topic

Mooseltoe

Today let’s read a fun holiday story: Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini. Moose wants everything to be “Perfectly perfect” for Christmas, but will he remember EVERYTHING?

Moose forgot the tree! Oh no… what would you do if you forgot to get a Christmas tree? Well you aren’t a moose, so you can’t decorate yourself. Today’s challenge…. create a tree for Moose!

You can use some of the same materials we had yesterday for the Christmas engineering projects or let your child get creative on his/her own. Encourage them to mix materials and think outside the box.

Some ideas: pipe cleaners, construction paper, Lego, popsicle sticks/tongue depressors, a pile of socks?, garland, toys… food…. your imagination is the limit!

Want to add more academics to this fun project? Pick a challenge to add to the creation. Here are some examples: Can you make a tree that stands without support? Can you make a tree that is taller than 10″? Can you make a tree that will hold ornaments? Can you make a symmetrical tree?

Also, have your child plan ahead. What do they think it will look like? What materials do they plan to use? Why?

Encourage multiple attempts, failure is part of the learning process… if that didn’t work, what else could you try?

Then at the end, if not totally exhausted from the process… have your child draw and write about the end result. Write a letter to Moose to go with the tree.

STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic

Christmas Engineering

Today let’s do some engineering! (Engineering at this age means problem solving through design and exploration of an open ended quest) Provide your child with any of the materials listed below and then let them work. When we work on these projects at school, we typically start by letting the children explore their materials. After learning how the materials work together, then provide a challenge. Make the tallest Christmas tree. Make a gift box. Make a candy cane. Make a sleigh. Make an ornament for the tree. Whatever you want your child to create/engineer.

Pick any of these combinations:

  • jingle bells with pipe cleaners
  • jingle bells with playdough
  • gum drops (or other gummy candy) with toothpicks
  • beads and pipe cleaners or string
  • playdough and beads
  • marshmallows with toothpicks
  • toothpicks, straws, tape, string,
  • playdough and candy canes (this can be tough since candy canes aren’t as strong as you’d think)

Ok… here’s a different way to engineer

Build an ornament holder (that suspends an ornament up) using straws, tape, pipe cleaners, ornament holders

Design a new sleigh for Santa use paper, tape, glue, popsicle sticks, egg cartons, Lego blocks or whatever creative items your child wants to use

Are You Teaching Kids Responsibility? 50 Simple Challenges to Get You  Started - A Fine Parent

Remember! There is no right or wrong way to work on these STEM projects. Your roll is to ask questions. If you want to participate…. do your own version beside your child. Children often figure out how to do things by struggling through the steps of what not do it… failure is always an option, it is the first step on the way to success.

STEAM · story · topic

Candy Cane

When you think of the holiday season, there is one candy that pops into mind… candy canes! So, let’s learn about candy canes today.

File:Candy-Cane-Classic thumbnail.png - Wikimedia Commons

Here is a fun story to start: Katie the Candy Cane Fairy by Tim Bugbird

Now let’s learn about candy canes: How It’s Made Candy Canes, History of Candy Canes, and Making Candy Canes in Disneyland.

Now that you’ve learned a little about candy canes… let’s have some fun.

Candy Cane STEAM (see similar activity here)

  • Take out 3 glasses
  • in one glass put room temperature water
  • in the second, put ice water
  • in the third put boiling/hot water
  • Make a prediction: what do you think will happen to the candy canes in each glass?
  • drop a candy cane (or part of a candy cane) in each glass
  • Now observe!
  • Does the temperature of the water effect the rate of dissolving?
  • Any other observations?

You can do the same experiment using different liquids (water, vinegar, soda, milk) or different waters (tap, distilled, salt, sugar, etc).

STEAM · story · topic

Do Bees Buzz in the Winter?

Many animals who migrate or hibernate depend on insects for food… so what happens to insects in the winter? Well we know that butterflies migrate, so do dragonflies. What about everything else? Well the best answer to this is… it depends on the insect. Check out this information from the Smithsonian. You will see that some survive as larva, pupa, eggs and even some as adults hibernating. The key they have is by being able to create their own anti-freeze.

Let’s watch some videos

Scientific America What Do Honeybees Do in the Winter?

ScienceOnline Honeybees in Winter an Amazing Sound

So what do bees do? They huddle together and move their wings to stay warm. So while they are not hibernating in the sense of lowering their body functions, they still are not doing anything but staying warm. They put all their energy in keeping the queen warm. It’s almost like the other bees are trying to be a blanket around the queen. A queen bee quilt?

So… today make your own queen bee quilt. Will you use squares, rectangles, triangles or even hexagons, just like the bee hive? Will you draw it or make it out of cut paper? Will you have one pattern or a collection of patterns? It is up to you… it is your quilt

story · topic · writing

Frogs Hibernating

When you think about animals that hibernate, I bet frogs do not come to mind. But, did you ever wonder what happens to frogs during the winter? Think about it. They live near water, they are cold blooded, the eat insects, but they can’t migrate somewhere warm… that’s a long distance to hop!

Let’s listen to a few fiction stories about frogs dealing with winter.

Frog in Winter by Max Velthuijs

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Do you think that frogs really just get dressed in warmer clothes and try to stay warm in the winter? Do they snuggle down in their beds under layers of blankets? Nope…

Frogs hibernate, but when frogs hibernate it is very different from bears and other mammals that hibernate. Frogs don’t have fur. They can’t regulate their body temperature. So… frogs actually freeze. Yes, you read that right. Frogs ice over, but stay alive!

Watch this NatGeo video and learn about how frogs survive the winter.

What do you think other pond animals do for the winter? Do they migrate? Do they hibernate? Do they adapt in some other way? Draw a picture of what you think the pond looks like in the winter.

STEAM · story · topic

Bears Hibernate for the Winter

When people talk about hibernation typically the first animal to come to mind is the bear. Bears actually do not truly hibernate, but do slow down their heart and lungs. When animals truly hibernate, they cannot be woken up, but bears brains stay alert enough to be aware of their surroundings. Bears go into a state called torpor.

Torpor involves physiological changes related especially to body temperature, metabolism, and water balance. Hibernation is when an organism spends the winter in a state of dormancy

science direct.com

Why do bears hibernate by Mystery Doug

Hibernation Video by Keeley Johnson

Baby Bear’s Not Hibernating by Lynn Plourde — read by Lynn Plourde

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (as told by Between the Lions)

Talk about what bears can, need and are for hibernation/torpor and then write and draw about it.

STEAM · story · topic

Butterfly Migration

For our final look at migration, lets look at butterflies! Did you ever wonder where the butterflies go in the winter? Let’s take a look!

Great Migration Butterflies by Laura Marsh

Winged Wonders by Meeg Pincus

Monarch Butterflies: Great Migration

I hope you enjoyed these facts about butterflies. So, lets have fun with butterflies. Butterflies as symmetrical, meaning they are the same on both sides. So, I thought it would be a good time to build some symmetrical butterflies!

I used Lego blocks and pattern blocks, but you can use any resources you have at home, even just crayons and paper. Notice in the last picture, I only made half a butterfly and used a mirror to create the line of symmetry.

STEAM · story · topic

Beans to Chocolate!

For thinking Thursday today, we will learn about how chocolate is made! Beans to Chocolate by Lisa M. Herrington shows the process of taking cacao beans and transforming them into the chocolate we love. Where Does Chocolate Come From? From SciShow Kids Jessi and Squeeks talk about the process of transformation. Take a trip to a chocolate factory with KidVision.

Have your child draw and/or write out the steps they remember in the processes. This is about looking at things step by step. If they miss a major detail, ask questions.

family activity · STEAM · story

Monster Trap!

Today listen to the stories “How to Catch a Monster” by Michael Yu and “How to Catch a Monster” by Adam Wallace. While both these stories have the same title they are actually very different. In the first book, the child is excited to play with his monster as he gets ready for bed. In the second, the child wants to overcome his fear of monsters. But I decided that thinking Thursday is a great day to design a monster trap!

This becomes a great STEAM project! You can use anything, yes anything in your house to build a monster trap. So… let your kiddo get creative. I would encourage him/her devise a plan. Let’s draw out what you think a monster trap should look like. What resources will you need? How will you lure the monster into the trap? Where will you set it up.

Now get working… let your child be creative and provide limited support in this adventure. Your roll is to be the scribe (lots of writing for this one), ask questions!, and encourage creativity. How does the monster…? What happens next? Why will that happen? How do you… ? How else can you…?

This is a great project to work on over a few days or at least a few chunks of time. In school we would probably devise the plan on one day and make the traps another. For younger children (3/4) I would have him/her make the trap and then draw the plan. For older children (kindergarten and up) I would have them make the plan and then make the trap. You are flipping the purpose of the plan in this case.

But remember, the main purpose it to have fun!

art · math · STEAM · teachers pay teacher

Monster Math!

This week is all about MONSTERS! This is such a fun topic for children as they can be both fun and scary. But we will focus on the fun side! Today’s story Monster Math by Anne Miranda… read by Anne Miranda! This is a story about a Monster’s birthday and how many monsters join the fun!

Shape Monster created by Adam Ray Daniels’ Cartoons for my TPT store kits

So … it’s time for a favorite activity and character: Shape Monster! Shape Monster Shape Monster munch, munch, munch? How about about a (color) (shape) for your lunch! This is a common kindergarten shape activity, but can so easily be adapted!

I’ll share with you a few ideas on how you can use the shape monster today.

Create simple shape monsters (or complex if you want). Put them onto bags or onto empty boxes to make the shape monster’s lunch bag/box. Label each monster with a shape. (circle monster, square monster, rectangle monster etc…). Have your child find items around they can put into the shape monster’s lunch bag.

Provide your child with construction paper, either already cut into shapes or have your child cut his/her own shapes. Use the shapes to create a monster out of shapes… a shape monster! Or if you do not have construction paper, they can just draw a monster out of shapes!

Want more shape monster fun? I have two kits in my store that use Shape Monster!

Show preview image 3

Shape Monster’s 2D lunch time mini book ($2)… Help shape monster find the shapes he wants to for lunch. Each page focuses on one shape and provides a color for each shape. And, Shape Monster himself describes the shapes attributes.

Shape Graphing with Shape Monster ($1)… This kit has your child(ren) sorting and graphing shapes. The kit includes four different graphing pages (spin and graph, color and graph, grab and graph and find and graph)