Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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Preschool STEM Summer Camp Day 3: Create!

Our Preschool STEM Camp Day 3 is all about states of imagination and creation! It is full of art, so we could label it STEAM too! And like the rest of our STEM Camp, it's perfect for homeschool, summer camps, maker spaces, and more! Here's the step by step science, art, and storybook lesson:

DIY Preschool STEM Summer Camp

{To see the rest of the themes, supply list, and lesson plans (5 days, with one and a half hours of STEM activities planned each day), click HERE!}

Today is 

Preschool STEM Camp

DAY 3: Create

Supplies: Book (The Most Magnificent Thing), velcro, slinky, play doh, random art supplies (suggestions: cardboard boxes, paper cups, egg cartons, paper plates, feathers, wiggly eyes, pompoms, paint, pipecleaners, craft feathers, glue, tape, etc)   NOTE: velcro, slinky, and play doh are optional, but will make the discussion more fun! 

Gathering Activity: As children arrive, direct them to a building station. Today I put out play doh!

Group Circle Time: Gather everyone in a circle. Review names and ask everyone what their favorite part of last week was. Pull out some velcro, and let everyone try sticking it together and pulling it apart. Velcro was actually invented in the 1940's when a man named George was walking through a forest in Switzerland. He got covered in "cockleburs" -- little pokey plant seeds that stuck to him and his dog! After he peeled them all off, he took them to his engineering lab and put them under a microscope to see what they looked like. He wondered what their shape was up close, and how it made them stick to him so well! He discovered that they were full of little hooks! He had an idea--he could make something similar to stick things together! He worked with some friends in a weaving business and a manufacturing plant to create the first VELCRO!
Discuss: Have you ever had an idea to make something? Do you think it was easy for George to make his velcro? Do you think his idea worked out the first time?

Story Time: I have everyone stand up and form a new semi-circle in another room for the story, mostly because I wanted everyone to have a chance to move and stretch between introductions and a story that takes at least five minutes to read. Today's story is The Most Magnificent Thing.
Discussion points: Did her idea work out the first time? The second time? Have you ever done something that took more than one or two tries to get the way you wanted it?

Today we're using the engineering process to make something fun and new!

Engineering Project #1: 

Make something awesome!

Supplies: assorted craft supplies

The engineering design process begins when we ask questions! What do you want to make? What problems do you want to solve? Your project for the day could be something that solves a problem, creates a tool, or meets a need (even if that need is just to look awesome--a lot of famous artworks are also engineering projects)! Once you have an idea of what you want to do, make a plan for how you will do it and build your prototype. Look at your prototype. Are there any changes you want to make? Ways to make it better? More cool? More efficient? You can change your prototype or build a new project! When you're ready, share it with everyone!  

Step 1: Share the process with your kids, share the supplies with them, and let them get to work! This is a VERY open-ended, child-led project!

If they don't have a lot of experience with things like glue, tape, and scissors, you may want to provide some extra help in those areas. 

Resist the temptation to tell kids how to make their projects! Let them be the creative force, analyzing force, and the expert who decides when they are done!

HINT: Keep the play doh out from earlier for earlier finishers! You can also put out slinkies--another fun invention to play with!

I always LOVE the huge variety of projects we get when we have days like this!! 
(uploading pictures takes me FOREVER--hopefully I'll get some up soon!)

We followed this activity with a snack and Engineering Project 2:

Engineering Project #2 / Extension Activity: Solving Problems

Supplies: 3 bath towels (perfect for about 6 kids--feel free to adjust if you have more or less!)

Part of the engineering design process is problem solving! This activity requires the kids to work together to solve a problem. It's good for team-building, confidence-building, and problem-solving practice!

Step 1: Line up all the kids on one end of the room. Explain to them that the floor is actually lava, and they need to cross it together! The only thing that is lava-proof are these strange floating rocks (the bath towels). They must use them to get everyone on their team safely to the other side of the room (or hallway or two rooms if don't have access to a room about 20 feet long). If anyone falls into the lava, everyone has to start over!

Step 2: Let them figure out a solution!

Free Play & Wrap-Up: Regroup, thank everyone for coming, review their favorite inventions, and let them play with play doh, slinkies, or velcro before they go! Free play is important for kids because it gives their brains a chance to process what they've learned. It also lets them create their own environment (to a degree!) for interacting and socializing with other children. I still supervise young children closely! 

And if you want to see a huge collection of STEM projects we've done with preschoolers, click on over HERE!

I'm so glad you're joining us for this Preschool STEM Camp, and I hope to see you again next week!! I would be delighted if you shared this post on Pinterest or Facebook! Be sure to see the whole camp layout HERE!!

Happy Educating,

Use the code Dinosaur10 to get an extra discount!! 

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