Thursday, May 11, 2017

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Fidget Spinner STEM Challenge Cards {FREE}

Fidget spinners are a hot topic right now--I have seen a lot of heated arguments about how they may or may not be the best fidget toys for the classroom, and I have to side with the fidget spinner-lovers. (More on that below...)  I'm also going to go a step further today, and suggesting that they should be used as an educational tool. AND, I'm going to share a set of Fidget Spinner STEM Challenge Cards for {FREE}!!

More than a decade ago, some of the best advice I got as I prepared to teach science was to make each lesson personally relate to the kids. Tying the lesson into money or food was almost always a guaranteed way to connect with students, but there are other ways too. One is to take advantage of things they are interested in. And guess what every kid is interested in lately? Yep...fidget spinners.

Fidget spinners and other fidget toys may be designed or marketed for kids with ADHD or autism, but there is something appealing about them for all kids. In fact, most adults find them mesmerizing too! Have you tried spinning one? We could spend all day on why I think they so enthralling, but that's not the point. The point is that they're an easy thing to tie into almost any lesson! And once you've made that connection you have an instant buy-in with your students!

I spend some time talking about how kids learn here. If you haven't read it, you should pop over and look at it. ;) One point I make is that kids learn better when they're interested. Kids are already interested in fidget spinners, so let's take advantage of it! I just ordered several more so that we can use them with all my kiddos' lessons! {Amazon affiliate link: Hand Spinner Fidget Toys}

You can use them to teach topics that you already have scheduled, or -- if you have the flexibility -- use them as the focus of your lessons!

I'm going to share some science, math, and literacy lessons and activities using fidget spinners during the next few days. These are fun ideas and free printables to get you thinking of ways you can use fidget spinners to your advantage.

Today I'm starting with Fidget Spinner STEM Challenge Cards!

These STEM challenge cards combine principles of science, technology, engineering, and math with fidget spinner tricks. As your kiddos try the different challenges, they are experimenting with both their own skills and the ball-bearing balanced nature of the fidget spinners. They predict and hypothesize how to accomplish the challenge, test their predictions, and either succeed or adjust the experiment. Many of the challenges will lead them to try variations of their own...and challenge their friends as well.

The beautiful thing about these silly little fidget spinners is that their very design takes advantage of principles of physics and encourages our children to experiment. And don't we want that?! Don't we want them to try new things and investigate their world? Every time someone has told me they don't like the fidget spinners because they "make noise and the kids keep playing with them," I can't help wondering, "What would you rather your kiddos be doing? Sitting silently? Mindlessly absorbing everything you say?" That's just not how kids learn. If you need kids to put the toys away, fine. But if you can use them in the lesson...even better!

I'm keeping our fidget spinners in a bin where they can be pulled out any time.

Anyway, on to the fun part! In this little packet you will find three sets of Fidget Spinner STEM Challenge Cards. The first page is for preschoolers, kindergarteners, or others who would benefit from picture challenges. They include a photo illustrating the challenge. The second set is for elementary aged kids who can read the cards themselves. The third set is blank so you or your kiddos can write down your own challenges--I'm sure you can think of more ways to experiment than I've included, so be sure to print off the "blank" sheet too!

These would make an awesome science station or center, a fun reward activity, or a great family night activity! You could even pull them out while you fix dinner!

Then be sure to pop back during the next few days for fidget spinner science, math, and literacy activities!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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1 click dissertation review said...

You have a wonderful blog which gives me many different ideas and ways to teach kids in a creative manner during playtime. This is a very useful technique and method to teach rules of science.