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.

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