The Power of a STEM Interactive Bulletin Board

Each month I will be designing and posting pictures of a STEM interactive bulletin board. I will document how to implement the board into the classroom and I will post video links, book links and websites to further the classroom discussions.

When I was a classroom teacher I really wanted to have a STEM interactive bulletin board, but each time I tried to create it I came up short and when I tried to look up ideas, all I could find were posters and inspirational sayings. The lack of good resources always left me searching for more…not to mention the fact that I never seemed to have enough time or energy to do the necessary legwork to pull it all together. Now as a research associate I have the time, the resources, the hours of research under my belt.  I have learned how important STEM is to our students and how to create a bulletin board that can be interactive and 3D.

What can a STEM interactive bulletin board do for a classroom teacher? These boards are created for the Pre K to 2nd grade teachers in mind, in order to maximize teaching time and teach 10-minute mini lessons daily, all generated by students’ curiosity and teachers’ questioning.

The Goal of these boards is for them to be used as a teaching tool. The teacher can use it as a questioning tool to ask their students what they notice, see, or question.

 

September STEM Interactive Board

 

What are some ways we can be interactive with these STEM boards?

The possibilities are limitless! Let your students get creative with how they categorize different elements on the board. Color, shape, size, and quantity are just a small number of ways that students can group and sort pieces and parts of the STEM board. Check out some of these pictures and see if you can spot some other ways to interact with things.

  1. Student categorize airplanes by color, by size, quantity, or model of the plane.
  2. Students show each other multiple ways to organize the planes by size (vertical, horizontal, longest to shortest, shortest to longest, width.
  3. Quantity of apples, bees and flowers are compared. Students engage in developing concepts of numerosity, cardinality, and the number word sequence.

Using the STEM Board as a Way to Engage Student Thinking:

Rather than pointing out the connection, this is when the teacher has to be patient and wait for the students to realize the connections. These opportunities give children chances to develop mental representations of shapes of different colors and sizes.

Teacher moments/Questions during mini lessons:

I really want to highlight the use of language and vocabulary in each mini lesson and how powerful all conversations can be. I have provided a list of about 20 sample questions. A teacher can use these as a guide to ask their students. Sometimes the teacher won’t even have to ask the students a question because the students themselves will be curious and will initiate questioning. One question a day should spark curiosity, discussion, and a whole class mini lesson.

Math Questions:

  • “Where is Willy the worm?”
    • Simply die cut a worm and place it in an apple. Move the worm from apple to apple using positional words (above, next to, between, below
  • “Can the bees fly above the flower with 6 petals?”
    • Use similar questions with positional and counting words
  • “What do you notice about the bee hive?”
  • “What do you notice about the flowers?”
  • “Can you make the flowers with other shapes?”
  • “How many petals and leaves are there?”
  • “Which flower is the tallest and shortest?
  • “What do you notice about the paper airplanes?”
  • “Can you sort the paper airplanes?” “Which color has the most, least?”
  • “Which paper airplane is the longest, shortest?”

NGSS Questions: I based the questions off of the Next Generation Science Standards for Kindergarten. Following this model my questions are focused on the needs of plants and animals in their specific environment.

  • “Why are leaves on the apple tree green?”
  • “How does the tree grow?”
  • “How does the apple grow?”
  • “How do the flowers live?”
  • “What do the plants and trees need to survive?”
  • “What is the habitat of a bee?”
  • “What is a bee’s job?”
  • “Do you think bees are important?” Why”
  • “Let’s predict how you think each paper airplane will fly.”
    • Make a chart and have students justify their thinking.
  • “What would happen if a big gust of wind came when I was going to fly my airplane?”
    • Project: Chart the whole class, create airplanes, first fly airplane without wind. Have students talk, turn on fan and then fly the airplane.

Resource Links

List of Read Aloud Books:

This board was created to be teacher and student friendly. It is not supposed to look like your typical math bulletin board; however with the correct questioning STEM, STEAM, or STREAM (Science, Technology, wRiting, Engineering, Art, and Math), can be the focus content areas. Each month I plan on posting a new STEM interactive bulletin board. Please post any questions or comments!

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