When Your Kids BEG for Homework! STEM Family Projects

One of my students’ very FAVORITE enrichment activities is our monthly STEM Family Projects!  In fact, it’s the only homework I’ve ever assigned that my kids actually BEG for!
Each month, I send home an assignment sheet like the following with my Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade Gifted and Talented students.  The objectives are very open ended to allow for as much divergent, or creative, thinking as possible.  I encourage my students to think like inventors as much and as often as possible, especially when they’re working through the STEM engineering process.
 I also attach the following family letter to the first STEM project of the year to offer a more detailed explanation to parents.  Since I am a specialty teacher, I keep these projects entirely optional so as not to pile on too many homework assignments on top of regular reading and math.  I also allow them to work with partners outside of class, if they choose.  Around 75% of my students choose to complete them each month, and they are so excited to share their creations with their peers.
On the back of their STEM assignment sheet, I copy this planning sheet for students to brainstorm ideas, make lists of needed materials, and sketch blueprint. We often talk about how important it is for engineers to carefully plan inventions before putting them into action.
I mean really…Aren’t their imaginations and creations absolutely INCREDIBLE?!!  And these aren’t even all of them!  They never cease to amaze me!
Clockwise from top left corner:
*Acorn jewelry (necklace and earrings)
*Finger puppets to represent the student’s family
*Shark made from painted rocks
*Owl made from pinecones
*Fairy bed
*Insect home
*Fairy house
Other creations included a cross bow made from branches, catapult made from branches, birdhouses, wooden boat, artwork created with printmaking and nature scenes, and so much more.
 When students bring projects back to class throughout the month, we display them on this shelf for all classes to admire.
 I allow each child a few minutes to present their project to their class, using guided questions.
 Students are assessed via a rubric and given feedback for projects, although since they are optional, it is not counted toward a grade.
Interested in purchasing my entire year package for STEM Family Projects?? Click below!