This post is part of a series of posts detailing STEM Interactive Bulletin Boards. If you’d like to read some of the “why” behind these tools, check out the first post in the series HERE.
STEM interactive bulletin boards are helpful in implementing and integrating all subjects while supplying a language rich environment for all children. I initially created this October board with the STEM standards for PreK through 1st grade in mind. Even though I have incorporated quite a few read alouds, with a little teacher modification, this can truly integrate reading, writing, science, technology, engineering and math. If you read my blog from last month, these boards are created to to maximize teaching time and for teachers to 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. For this October month, I have supplied additional activities that can be linked to the mini lessons. These activities can be done during centers, rotations, small group, independent choice, etc.
Using the STEM Board as a Way to Engage Student Thinking:
Science: NGSS activities are based off of the kindergarten standards. Following this model the activities and links are focused on the needs of plants and animals in their specific environment.
What’s October without pumpkins? I love this activity because it can fit a lot of grade levels, but most of all the labeling. I did not put the labels on the activity as it shows in the link. With the younger kiddos, it’s more of a fine motor activty than a ELA and NGSS activity; whereas, if I can move the labeling to whole class after the activity is finished; then the NGSS can take place. My two favortie books for the kids the explain the life cycle of a pumkpin are listed below. These books are also amazning sequecning stories as well.
There are two really fantastic books that I love during this time of the year that work really well as read alouds:
My hope is that after these 2 books are read aloud, the kids will look at the board and will will ask questions about the bats. Try to anticipate some of what these questions might be. A few potential questions from inquisitive kiddos might be:
- “Where are they going?”
- “Do they have a cave?”
- “Why are they fly during the day?”
You can also prompt some questions and curiousity by leading with some questions of your own that go right into an activity or mini-lesson.
“Just like in the books we read, how do these bats know where they are flying? Here’s a pdf file to help familiarize yourself with echolocation.
Teacher points to the board, “How do we know if these are birds or bats?” Teacher takes them off the board and passes them around, kids have time to talk and justify the answers.
Students will notice all the different colors of leaves. Here in California, fall weather come a bit later than in most places, so when leaves start changing, we get excited! There are a lot of things that you can do to highlight the changing weather and fall colors in addition to reinforcing many different STEM concepts.
AIMS Activity – Fall Leave Make Me Happy – I love this AIMS activity to go along with this board. It can be done small group or whole group. This activity aligns really well with NGSS standards as well as math skills such as measurement, number sense, patterns, observing, and data collection. Your students will a
Leaf Man – I seriously love this book! After the AIMS activity where the kids already have their leaves, keep them, then later, they can build their own leaf man, like the book. Taking it further, they then do all kinds of meauring with their leaf man. They use different manipulatives (Halloween mini erasers, paper clip, cubes, counters, ect.) and measure their leaf mans arms, legs, head and so on. If this is in a small group the teacher can have cards with dot patterns or numerals. For example afer the kids measure the “arm” leaf and say “ 8 erasers, then the teacher can ask “Ok, which one of my cards has 8?” The cards then have dot patterns which they count to find 8 or if the students are able to subitize the dots and numberals.
Technology: Links to my favorite October Read alouds
- Leaf Man
- Why Do Leaves Change Colors in the Fall
- Stellaluna (maybe a little long for PreK)
- Facts About Bats
- Build a bat cave out of unifix cubes: Then ask – Can you build it to fix more bats?
- Five Little Pumpkins- Build a structure to hold up 5 pumpkins, give students manipulatives and have them work in teams.
- Pumpkin races: Small group or partners. Each team would build a ramp to have a pumpkin race. The objective is to see who miniture pumpkin can roll the furthnest. Each team will have two-three iterations. Data sheets can be used.
Math: Last month was focused on shapes and sizes. This month I chose to focus on measurement, number word sequence and patterning. Here are some suggestions for how you can use elements on the bulletin board, but get creative and do what works best for your class!
My thoughts behind the shoes: I wanted kids to look at the board and wonder and ask questions about the shoes, and I want conservations to start about measurement and the “why” to naturally happen about measurement. A possible example, a kiddo could say “I notice the shoes. I see they are all different colors.” And because it is an interactive board the teacher would take the shoes off the board and pass them out to the kiddos and have them explore the shoes and have them talk about the shoes. A kiddo would say, “Are they all the same size?” The teacher would say “ I’m not sure, how could we find out?” Student would then talk about possible solutions
The socks were created out of wrapping paper. Through the use of the socks, a patterning activity, an observation for the DRDP or an informal assessment can be implemented through the use of this board with the kids. Simple questions as mixing up the socks and asking “ Do these socks match?”, “Can you finish this pattern for me?” or “ Can you make the same pattern?” can guide students to understand what patterns look like and what the meaning is behind he vocabulary.
My thoughts on this are related to using it after the NGSS “Fall Leafs Me Happy”. This would be a perfect measurement activtiy to do. The teacher would then ask the kids “ Who’s leaves are the longest, shortest, widest, thinnest?” The spatial lagnauge is powerful and will influence the children to use it themsleves and then the students will then be curious to find out who has what leaves. They will be so much more engaged when they are searching for the outcome because they are curious.
- Shoes + Bats AIMS Activity – Spread Your Wings
This is a picture of a microbat. The link provided is to an AIMS activity “Spread your Wings” Estimating and measuring microbats and megabats wingspans. This would work best at a teacher/guided center.
I hope you enjoy my STEM Interactive bulletin board aka more like: STEAM, or STREAM (Science, Technology, wRiting, Engineering, Art, and Math) Each month a new board willl be posted for all those teachers out there 🙂 Please post any questions or comments!