Happy New Year! As my students returned from their Winter Break, I wanted my MakerSpace to get them excited about coming back to school so I focused on some activities that required my students to be creative, work together and think. Here’s what we tried:
- Snowflake Challenge: This challenge was inspired by a blog called Cutting Tiny Bites Winter STEM and by a STEM activity by Teachers are Terrific. Both sites encourage students to focus on symmetry and creativity to design their own snowflakes using every day objects and craft supplies like Popsicle sticks, Q-Tips, cotton balls, straws, pom poms, and more. Students had a great time designing their snowflakes and I loved hearing them share their ideas with each other. As an added bonus, I read the story Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin as well as Snow by Uri Shulevitz and had out various non-fiction books about snow for the students to learn and interact with.
- Preparing for this activity was very easy. I used a chip and dip tray that I bought at a local dollar store to organize the supplies. I started simple by only putting out straws, cotton balls, string, toothpicks and twist ties. Students used the twist ties, string and tape to secure their snowflakes and cotton balls to decorate as needed. I also put out an instruction sheet (Snowflake Challenge) to help guide the students and remind them that snowflakes have symmetry
- Very quickly the students went beyond the cotton balls and wanted more. They asked if they could use other supplies they saw on the shelves and I happily told them, “Yes!” Snowflakes with pom poms, beads, glitter, etc. were quickly being designed, students were engaged and making was alive.
- Geoboard Snowflakes: One of my favorite things about my MakerSpace is my ability to take something “old” and make it new again for my students. My school, like many others I think, has an ample supply of Geoboards that are patiently waiting to be used. When I saw Geoboard Snowflakes STEM Activity for Kids on the blog Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls it was a perfect fit. By simply taking out the Geoboards and rubber bands we already had and providing a little guidance (Geoboard Snowflake Challenge) students were quickly designing and making all different kinds of snowflakes and the Geoboards couldn’t have been happier. : )
- Something to keep in mind is that although students were guided and encouraged to make snowflakes, I quickly found that many students just wanted to create other designs or creations. From houses to letters to dogs and everything in between, be open to the making not the product.