Thursday, April 25, 2013

Starting a STEM classroom

Finding "stuff" to use without breaking teacher budgets is always an issue.  This year with a STEM classroom is no different. I'm very thankful that the maker movement encourages the use of re-purposing materials, but it can still be a challenge. Here is a list I've made this year of materials I've used so far:

23 Chromebooks in a cart - provided by the district for one-to-one computing initiative.

For knitting:
Any yarn from yard sales - my students bring in their own needles if they are interested in learning. Once they are good enough I'll allow them to go to my "left over/ gifted" yard box and choose yarn to knit a scarf for a local homeless outreach group. I've also had folks donate yarn, especially if someone's family member passes away.

For building:
4 Low Temp Glue guns - my students handle them well. I do stay close.

TONS of glue gun glue - I need a good source for these because we seem to go through them.

Elmer's glue and glue sticks - purchased at the beginning of the year - TONS

Scissors - the "good" adult type.  I do have separate scissors for fabric

Newspaper - I have students who bring it in, but I also get a stack of our local free papers if necessary

Exacto knife - I haven't trusted them yet to cut, so I do it for them.

Toilet Paper tubes - The parents send them in. Students have found tons of uses for them.

I have a LOT of K'Nex - 5 rollercoasters, and a miscellaneous set

Legos - I have about 8 containers of general sets I've consolidated into 4 bins (one per table)

2 erector sets - My plan was to set these out 2 quarter, but I didn't, so I'll try again next year.

Lincoln Logs - no one used, but I had them at home so they were free to bring in.

Wooden Marble runs - used a lot at the beginning of the year, but since we've made our roller coasters I
                                    think we've outgrown them.

For pallet/ wood work (in progress).
3 rubber mallets - Worth getting the more expensive ones.  All 3 of my cheap ones lost their mallet heads when a 10 year old girl used them.

Crowbar/ plybar  - I have two different types - the traditional crowbar and one that is flatter.

Electric screwdriver - I brought it from home, but probably need to buy two for the classroom (one for boys
and one for girls, or one gender tends to use it without sharing)

Screws - NEED TO BUY in bulk.  These work well with the pallets.

Hammer - Do not use them on the crowbar - I had to teach students that one.

Handsaws and jig boxes - I've borrowed from another school, but need to buy my own.

For the garden - We grow seeds for use in the cafeteria with some of the kindergartners. (Next year we may try hydroponics- waiting to hear about a grant)
Assorted seeds

various  planter trays


2 watering cans

3 raised beds.

Key for the water spigots outside - ask the custodian

4 spades

4 rakes

Misc. -
LOADS of ziploc bags

Lots of small plastic cups

VARIOUS  insect, bird, spider, butterfly identification books. 

Birdfeeder - This surprised me as to it's popularity, but I attached a birdfeeder to my window, and the kids are having a great time identifying the birds that come to visit.

4 -1000 piece puzzles - one per quarter. Hard to keep the pieces off the floor away from the custodian

I have access to 6 sets of Lego Mindstorms used throughout our STEM classrooms.

A cool observation tray- from Michael's that my students use to bring in dead bugs and  neat things they find in nature.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Marble Roller Coaster pt. 3

     We are down to the wire finishing our roller coasters before parent night tomorrow night.  Parents are invited to come in and see what we've been working on for the year.  Finished groups will present their coaster, and then continue to work on expanding the theme of their coaster for our local Maker Faire (we were accepted to present on June 1, and the kids are so excited).  The above pair of boys (M and J) were the first group finished from my two classes which really helped motivate others to complete their projects as well.  They worked very hard - and interestingly, started from the bottom and built up.  Every other group has started from the first slide and then get stuck with their loops.  Please feel free to leave a comment for the boys, they are super proud!