Monday, February 6, 2017

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STEM Activity for Kids: Valentine Tower

STEM activities for kids are my favorite types of things to do with our whole group after we read a book! I love that my preschoolers and older kids canall get involved and engage the activity on their own level!


This week's Virtual Book Club for Kids book is The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond, so we're starting our Valentine theme a little early--it totally works for us because we love all things pink, red, and hearts! (Well, my girls love all things pink and red, and my son is a really good sport about putting up with it for two weeks every February!)  :D

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I love this story because it involves Valentines, hearts, crafting, creating, and sharing. We decided to focus on the hearts and pink side of Valentines for this project.  :) 

Soooo, in true Valentine spirit I bought a big package of pink paper cups. They're super cheap at this time of year, and there are a lot of activities we can do with them...starting with this Valentine (pink!!) themed STEM activity. I also had a set of slightly stronger pink plastic cups that we pulled out too. 


The plastic cups were just a tiny bit bigger than the paper cups, so that created an interested twist on the normal cup-tower-building that my kids love!


This STEM project has two of my absolute favorite components: 

1- It appeals to a wide variety of ages and different children can experiment on their own level.
2- Set-up took less than a minute. 

Combined, it was a huge recipe for success! The kids spent more than half an hour working on these STEM Challenges:

1- How tall a tower can you build? (The Empire State Building is over 100 stories tall and lights up the top in Valentine colors and decorations on February 14th! Obviously we won't get 100 "stories," but how high can you go?) I provided rulers in case anyone wanted to measure theirs, but everyone ended up being more interested in relative measurements...we did get one very close to the ceiling!

2- What kind of designs can you create?  A week ago we tried re-creating the Taj Mahal with plastic cups and craft sticks, and we've also talked about ancient Greek architecture in the past, so the kids were excited to try different designs with their "Valentine" cups.

Everyone got right to work!



Look at that concentration!!




We had lots of fantastic designs!


We also had quite a few tumbles...



Even our 1-year old toddler saw everyone stacking, and gave it a try!



Every finished product was fantastic...I probably took more than a hundred pictures because everyone wanted each of their masterpieces saved forever! (Don't worry...I won't put them all up, lol!)








I especially loved seeing them work together at the end to build the "tallest tower possible" that went right "to the ceiling." My 4-year old gathered a few "accessories" to decorate her towers, and they put a golden ornament on the very top!



How is this a STEM activity? It integrates the four pillars of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics:

SCIENCE: problem solving, experimenting, predicting, testing, analyzing
TECHNOLOGY: measurement tools (rulers)
ENGINEERING: balance, physics, applied gravity, design, creation
MATHEMATICS: measuring, determining stability

You can read more about how preschoolers work with these aspects of STEM here: measurement, technology, and engineering.



As I mentioned earlier, this was part of our Valentines theme to go with the Virtual Book Club for Kids! (I have a separate Valentines theme for preschoolers that you might enjoy too!)


Be sure to join us on Facebook for all the Virtual Book Club fun and check out these other love, hearts, and Valentine themed activities from this week's Virtual Book Club cohosts:

Preschool STEM: Valentine's Tower - Preschool Powol Packets (you are here!!)
Number Matching Heart Puzzles- Sea of Knowledge




Happy Educating,
Carla







I may share at any of these parties!




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