Students at my school love STEM projects because they are hands-on and engaging.  I'm not sure they realize how much problem solving and higher level thinking they are doing!

The story Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing is about how to test the sturdiness of the Brooklyn Bridge (which took 14 years to build), the circus tested it by having 21 elephants cross it.  

One STEM project I have done with students is to have students create a bridge for 21 elephants.  I did not have elephants, but I did have bears.  You could also use other manipulatives to represent the 21 elephants.  

When using the engineering design process, students need to be able to design and plan their solutions.  Then they make their model and test it.  Finally, they reflect on the process.

My STEM Journal is a great way for students to document their thinking.

Some of my favorite picture books that support STEM include the following books:

I am slightly obsessed with elves.  Joy is our Elf on the Shelf and John Henry is her pet :)  They are wearing adorable masks from Keeping Up With Mrs. Harris.

Two of my favorite read aloud Elf books are How to Catch an Elf and The Littlest Elf.  Both books have vibrant illustrations and a storyline that hooks students!  After I did my How to Catch an Elf activity with my second grade group, one of the boys begged me to ask the teacher to let the whole class read the book during, "whole g. reading"  :)  That's what he calls whole group reading!

You can download my free writing activity where students can design a trap to catch an elf.  It is free in my store!  To extend the activity, students can actually build their trap!  My STEM journal to record all the steps and processes involved in designing a STEM project is also FREE!

I recently started picking up a kindergarten math group.  We've been practicing decomposing numbers.  I will tell you that the Target Dollar Spot erasers make awesome seasonal manipulatives!
This drawer organizer from Target (in the kitchen area) is perfect for storing erasers at work stations or at small group.

These mats only have the number at the top.   I laminated them, and then students can practicing decomposing numbers and write the numbers in the box.  Click here for a link to the mats.

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