It’s officially fall, y’all! October is one of my favorite months of the year for so many reasons, but mostly because it lends itself beautifully to so many of my favorite read alouds and Halloween STEM Challenges! Here are some of our newest Storybook STEM lessons that are sure to keep your Kindergartners, First Graders, and Second Graders engaged all month long.
If you’re curious about ALL the components that Storybook STEM has to offer, here’s an snapshot of skills for the entire month. Four read alouds, key vocabulary, comprehension lessons, enrichment activities, and STEM Challenges that can be completed either as a series of mini lessons or over the course of one day such as a Maker Monday or STEM Friday. (Note the suggested time frames on the top of each component.)
First up is one of my faves that makes a great read aloud for ANY time of year: Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty. This book is the third installment of her beloved series about creative kids, including Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect. I read all three books to my little ones every year and they very quickly become their favorites too!
Ada Twist is about a young scientist who is always questioning the world around her. Her curiosity leads her through experiments and discoveries that fuel her passion for science to discover how the world works. I wanted my students to complete a more science-heavy STEM Challenge for this book, and what’s more engaging that creating polymers, A.K.A. SLIME?!! Students explore the properties of both liquids and solids as they follow a simple recipe to create ooey gooey neon slime. My kids at home and I had a BLAST trying this one out a few weeks ago, and we’ve even kept it fresh in airtight food containers so we can keep the slimy fun going!
Balance the Broom
Next up is a staple read aloud in SO many early childhood classrooms, Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. This book is perfect for teaching sequence of events as the witch attempts to add animal friends on her broom to share in her adventures. The STEM Challenge for this story is called “Balance the Broom,” in which students use various weights of cups and pennies to attempt to “balance” both sides of a simple scale. Their scale is constructed out of a ruler for a lever, pencil, and cup of playdough, and this challenge is one that requires many tests and improvements before equal balance is achieved.
Think Outside the Box
This STEM Challenge lends itself very easily to Makerspace exploration or even a family project that is completed at home. After reading the book What to do With a Box by Jane Yolen, students use their best inventive skills to create something useful out of a box. You will be BLOWN AWAY at your students’ creative ideas for this one! No two designs will be alike!
Our final Spooky Storybook STEM Challenge is a simple, team building activity that is perfect for a fall party or the day before a fall break. Big Pumpkin has been a favorite classroom read aloud since I was young, and the collaborative theme makes the perfect tie in to a team-based STEM challenge. Students are each given three feet of yarn, and must use ONLY the yarn to move a pumpkin from one side of the room to the other. As you might guess, this challenge is nearly impossible to complete alone, and requires students to work with groups to create a web or holding device to carry the pumpkin with the yarn. This connects beautifully with the Big Pumpkin story, in which the characters must work together to move a giant pumpkin.
Here’s a peek at just a few of the AMAZING comprehension and vocabulary lessons that accompany the read alouds in our October Storybook STEM Unit, created by the insanely talented Katie King.
We’ve also included open-ended Maker Cards to bring some fall fun into your Makerspace!
If you’re looking to shake up your Language Arts and try some engaging Halloween STEM Challenges in October, these lessons are for you!
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