Saturday, January 30, 2016

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Sand Castle STEM Challenge

You can add a little sand castle science and STEM to any day, whether it's a day at the beach or a day in the classroom!  Plus, it fits right in with common preschool themes like Beaches and Oceans!

N. V. Scarfe once said, "The highest form of research is essentially play."  This is especially true when it comes to sand.

Sand is one of very few items that both children and professional scientists experiment with!  Just a few years ago, investigators sent sand into space so they could see how it behaves when it doesn't have its own weight affecting the experiment!  

Kids don't need to go into space to experiment with sand!  You can take them to the beach or just buy a bag of play sand at a hardware store.  Make some water and plastic buckets available, and you can challenge them to create a sand castle of their own!

Of course, if you go to the beach they will probably challenge themselves.  We had one castle built on top of a tunnel that was so deep that a child's hand wouldn't reach all the way through.  But, if you had one kiddo on each end of the tunnel, they could touch each other in the middle:

We had several tall towers:

And we had a group project:

The kids loved working together on this one!  It started out as one child's castle, but it was taking much longer than she'd hoped.  Soon, everyone wanted to help.  Four kids, two adults, and three yogurt buckets later, this castle -- complete with a moat -- began to emerge:

We had to get a picture to immortalize it.

Building sand castles lets children experiment with the science, engineering, and math components of STEM:

Science: questioning, hypothesizing, predicting, experimenting, testing, analyzing

Engineering: using science and math to build and create castles

Math: subjectively calculating how to best fill the available area with the available tools, 
non-standard measurements

You can call it a fun day at the beach (or a super fun sensory bin), but your lesson plan can include a note about a fantastic STEM experience!

Do your kiddos love science?  I have over 100+ science and STEM activities and experiments here!

And be sure to check out these other STEM activities from our STEM Saturday bloggers:

STEM Saturday.jpg

Sand Castle STEM Challenge from Preschool Powol Packets
Wind Power LEGO Car Races from Handmade Kids Art
February Science Calendar from The Homeschool Scientist
Fishing for LEGO Ice Minifigures from The Science Kiddo
Lego Displacement Experiment for Kids from Lemon Lime Adventures

I may share at any of these parties!

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