STEM. We've all heard of it. Some of us are implementing it, while the other half of us have no idea what it means or what it is or how to even implement it... especially in a special needs classroom. And some of us still have absolutely no idea what STEM stands for... that was me about a month ago.
Wow, that was pretty amazing to say. I teach STEM. AHH! It's so exciting!
Because not only are we knocking out pretty much all subject areas at once, but we are allowing our students to problem solve and think critically. STEM gets my students collaborating in a high engagement, hands-on activity, all while using their smarts to generalize and apply this knowledge into the real world. Plus, STEM touches on multiple learning styles and intelligences!
It's like walking into Target only to find out the Dollar Spot was just freshly stocked up. It's like a gold mine!
So what I'm going to do is show you two different STEM activities that we did this week. I'll first show you the recommended way to try the activity, and then show you how I modified it to fit the needs of my students with special needs.
I didn't have an empty tissue box to use for this activity, so I modified it a lot based on the supplies I had in my classroom.
We lined all of the critter houses up in front of our "pond." I let him choose critter houses in any order he wanted. Then we set a timer for 1 minute and he had to hold the critter house under the water for 1 minute.
He quickly realized that the larger, wider straw worked better to launch his rockets. He also learned really quickly that he needed to leave space at the top of the rocket for his air to blast the rocket off of his straw. He's so smart!
I used red painter's tape to tape numbers on the line (as shown in the picture above). They each got one rocket and four rounds. Whoever earned the most points after four rounds was the winner... although everyone got 3 M&M's for participating, so we all won :)
The numbers are actually still on our classroom floor... 3 days after the lesson... and the kids are still exciting about their new "game."
You could say that after two weeks of implementing STEM activities into my special needs classroom, I am hooked. My students are hooked... and the best part is, they WANT to do these activities!
Do you teach STEM in your classroom?
*I was not compensated to write this blog post. The views within this post are strictly and honestly my own.*