Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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Paintbrush Engineering STEM Challenge

This was the most perfect book-inspired, team-building, back-to-school STEM project we've done!

I knew we were going to be doing something like this a couple weeks ago when I saw this Bridge Building STEM activity, but since we changed a few things up, I decided to share our project with you today!

We read I Ain't Gonna Paint No More as our picture book of the week (more on that below), and then I showed the kids a pile of paintbrushes, an egg carton, a pile of rubber bands, and rulers. I challenged them to build a road strong enough to support a car. 

I loved watching them work through their different ideas! At first, everyone wanted to build on their own little section. They tried balancing the rulers on top of the paintbrushes. That didn't work at all! Finally, they realized they could balance the rulers on the rubberbands! They started working together, and created this fantastic "spaghetti bowl" road! They added the bus and a jet, and put at least five different small cars on the road at once! The cars came on and off, and they even played with it for a while! 

Eventually we had to take it down so we could paint...they managed to use more than a dozen paintbrushes in one amazing engineering design!

I love how STEM, engineering, and often science projects bring kids together to problem solve and work with each other. They were all so pleased with their work--they even wanted to take their own pictures! I doubt my youngest preschooler could have done this on her own, but since she was working with two older kids, she got to be part of the creation too! It was a wonderful way to start the year!

You will see a lot of book-inspired posts this year! The reason is we are using a picture book every week to base our themed activities on! We've done this before, but I haven't blogged about it quite the same way. This year, I'm focusing on a lot of book-inspired activities that will go great with my new preschool curriculum, HEEP! HEEP is a hands-on, themed curriculum perfect for preschoolers. You can learn more about HEEP here!

Do you have a favorite back-to-school activity? I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to send me an email, leave a comment, or stop by my PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page!

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