May 2018

I can’t believe it’s the last month of school and that I’ve been doing this blog for over a year.  It seems like such a short time since I first opened my Creation Station, but it’s actually been almost 3 years.  It’s been quite a journey, but such fun.  Enjoy my ideas for this month and be sure to check out my ideas from May 2017 as those are different activities for your MakerSpace.

Here’s what’s on deck this month:

  1. Pipe Cleaner Creations: This activity was inspired from a great little blog called  Lines Across.   It has great instructions on how to make two different types of bunnies and a carrot using only pipe cleaners.  Add a pom pom and google eyes for added effect, but definitely not necessary.  The blog has easy to use instructions which you can use as directions for the kids.  I used the images to make this sign (Make a Pipe Cleaner Bunny).  For my MakerSpace, I simply put out the sign, had a few bins with the supplies and let them explore and create.  I only showed one type of bunny to keep it simpler, but encouraged them to come up with their own design or to design something new and different if their creativity went that way.  I look forward to seeing what they create.
                                                                        Directions and images from LinesAcross.com
  2. Challenge Cards: There are so many different sets of challenge cards on Teachers Pay Teachers, but sometimes it’s hard to know which ones are worth spending money on, if you want to spend any money at all.  I have found that many times I can find ideas on Pinterest, different websites and blogs or just a good old fashioned Google Search, where you can use the idea to inspire your students, but sometimes it is nice to just click and download something that’s ready to go and usually super cute!  This being said, I also don’t want to spend a ton of money so when I do go out to buy something, I’m very selective and price conscientious.  Here are a couple challenge cards I have found that I’m excited to try this month.
    • Zoo Themed STEM Cards:  My first graders do research with me on a zoo animal and then write a report about what they’ve learned.  They create their own habitat for their animal and even go to the Brookfield Zoo for a field trip.  It’s great fun for everyone.  When I came across these Zoo Themed STEM Cards from Sara J Creations, I thought they’d be a great match for their study, but also a fun challenge for the rest of my school.  My favorite part of the challenge, is it uses materials that are easy to find and many I already had like Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, toilet paper tubes, index cards, etc.   On her site she uses marshmallows and wine corks, which I would not use, but I will substitute base ten blocks and straws.  Really you can use anything as the cards ask the kids to create all different things like bridges, doorways, paths, etc.  Another great thing about these cards is they are FREE!  Be sure to check them out.
      Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.                                                                                Image from Sara J Creations
    • Cup Stacking Challenge: My students love to create and build with plastic cups.  They love to use them build fun structures, but also to tape together to make musical instruments or creatures.  The other day a kindergartener wanted to build a “telephone” using the cups and string.  We built it together and his eyes lit up when, as he said, “Wow!  It really works!  Who knew?!”  So, when I found Heaps of Firsts Cup Stacking Challenge Cards for only $2.50 on TpT, I thought this would be a great addition to our cup fun.    With 20 different cup building challenges I know these challenges will be a starting point for many amazing creations.  I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

      IMG_0951

  3. Build a Better Bird House:  The last activity for this month is pretty open ended.  It is simply a challenge to the students to use any of the building materials in the Creation Station to create a bird house.  In my Creation Station, students could choose from building materials like MagnaTiles, blocks< Legos or Lincoln Logs or create something different using Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, paper, cotton balls, etc.  The students can choose how they wish to build their house which I hope will give them the chance to be really creative and innovative.  We shall see.  You can Design a Birdhouse.

I hope these ideas help the end of your year stay engaging, fun and creative.  Happy Making!

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