Monday, February 22, 2016

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Inspired-by-Dr. Seuss Turtle Science STEM Challenge!

Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up, and to celebrate we are doing science experiments, activities, and STEM projects inspired by our favorite Dr. Seuss books!

Today's STEM Challenge started out as a science (physics) activity inspired by Dr. Seuss's Yertle the Turtle, but quickly morphed into a huge STEM exploration as the kids had ideas and wanted to try more things!

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In the story, Yertle, the turtle king, builds his throne higher and higher by forcing the other turtles to climb on top of each other.  Turtles don't balance so well and eventually a little sneeze shakes the whole tower!  Our science activity was going to emphasize how fragile tall towers are and teach the kiddos about balancing with a hands on "turtle tower" project of their own!  

We pretended that a set of paving stones were turtles (they do look a bit like turtle shells)!  They children were challenged to stack them up just like the turtles in the story (which they all loved)!

It quickly turned into a STEM investigation as the kids used experiment after experiment as trial and error to get a tower that used all the stones we had gathered.  They were not happy when the first tower tipped so early, but they did like the idea of trying again!  They also decided that forming a platform for the tower would give them a sturdier tower!

Science: physics: balance and gravity

Technology: taking pictures of their towers, speculating how cranes would do the project

Engineering: building a tower

Math: counting, adding

I loved hearing my 5-year old call out as they built, "More turtles!  More turtles!!" (just like Yertle--he even mimicked my "Yertle voice")!

Finally, they finished!  

They even found a little red "Yertle" to put on the top!

Their Dr. Seuss-inspired Turtle Tower was incredible!  I was so pleased that this particular STEM challenge became a project everyone loved.  It encouraged team work, used their large gross muscles and motor skills, and was a wonderful outdoor activity!

And, finally, the tower tipped over!

Of course, when we finished, we re-read Yertle the Turtle.  It's always been a favorite Dr. Seuss book!

Do you love Dr. Seuss books?  Be sure to check back for more fun Dr. Seuss-inspired science experiments, activities, and STEM challenges!  I'll be sharing them for the rest of the month!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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