The Perfect Books To Pair With STEM Activities

Have you read any great books with your students lately? If you know me, you know that I absolutely love all things STEM and books! In fact, I have created multiple resources that connect these two passions of mine that you can check out here. 

Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite STEM books. These books are the perfect pair to a STEM activity because they will get students thinking critically and problem-solving. They are great for upper elementary to middle school students.

Check out these STEM books to find your next favorite! 

`1. Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars by Brooke Smart

2. Up in the Leaves: The True Story of the Central Park Treehouses by Shira Boss

3. Flip! How the Frisbee Took Flight by Margaret Muirhead

4. Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy

5. Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter

6. The Secret Subway by Shana Corey

7. Jonas Hanway’s Scurrilous, Scandalous, Shockingly Sensational Umbrella by Josh Crute

8. If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche

9. Dream Something Big by Dianna Hutts Aston

10. Where Is the Brooklyn Bridge? by Megan Stine

Now that you have some books to start with, you may be wondering: what are some STEM Project Ideas?

Here are some resources that pair with other great STEM books!

Because Of The Rabbit

stem books resource

f you read Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord this is the resource for you!  Because of the Rabbit STEM Challenge and Literature Resources is a packet of literacy activities that pair perfectly with this engaging book.

Shouting At The Rain

STEM books resource

Love Shouting At the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt? This is the resource for you!  Shouting At the Rain STEM Challenge and Literature Resources is a packet of literacy activities that will get your students engaged in STEM and reading.

The Friendship War

STEM books resource preview

If you read The Friendship War by Andrew Clements you’ll love this STEM activity!  The Friendship War STEM Challenge and Flipbook is a packet of literacy activities that your students will love and be engaged in while reading the novel.

For more STEM fun, make sure to check out my latest blog post here.

Top 3 Summer STEM Activities Students Will Love

Summer is here and it’s time for relaxing in the sun with the smell of sunscreen in the air. But that doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop! Just make it extra fun. How do you do that? STEM! 

STEM stands for Science Technology, Engineering, and Math. It’s my favorite subject because it incorporates all of these subjects plus reading, researching, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and even some history, all at once. What’s not to love? 

Summer STEM activities are the perfect way to get students engaged in learning during those hot and sunny days because it allows them to have a lot of open-ended exploration while learning. If you’re looking for some summer STEM challenge ideas, you’re in the right place. 

What is a STEM challenge for kids? 

An example of simple STEM activities for kids would be something where students are given an educational problem to solve and they need to come up with a solution to solve it or they need to build something. It’s so amazing to see their creativity flourish as they all put their own unique spin on the answer! 

What are some STEM challenges? 

Ready to get started with some amazing summer STEM activities for elementary students? I have you covered! Here are some of my absolute favorite STEM challenges for kids that are perfect for fun summer learning. Each of these activities is a unique, hands-on experience that will take students through the STEM process as they work to complete the challenge. 

Paper Airplane STEM Challenge

This is a packet of experiments your students will love! Flying and creating paper airplanes is a fun activity that will engage your students as they collect data and use measurement skills. Includes Google Slides for remote learners. 

  • A great literature connection is added as students research the history of airplanes and the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and Bessie Coleman. 
  • Also, these activities can also be used for STEAM Activities, STEM Fun Fridays, Maker Spaces, Tinkering Labs, Summer Programs, or After School Clubs.

Camping STEM Challenges

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-STEM-Challenges-Digital-Distance-Learning-3826210

This resource includes three activities that your students will love while exploring the theme of camping. Students will design and construct boats, tents, and fishing poles. These challenges will engage your students as they design, engineer, and test their creations. Students will go through the Engineering Process as they build and test their creations using various materials to construct them. 

Your students will love designing, creating, and engineering. They will problem solve and think critically as they complete their challenges. 

Tip: It is important to keep the challenges open-ended so students will start thinking about other challenges or tests they would like to perform.

Frog Jumping STEM Challenge

summer stem activities

STEM Jumping Frog Challenge is a fun STEM activity that your students will love as they create origami frogs to test their jumping abilities. Students will problem solve and think critically as they complete their challenges. 

Your students will love going through the design process as they cover the Next Generation Science 3-5-ETS1-1 & 

You’ll love how excited students get when testing their frogs and testing how far their frogs will jump! Students can use paper folding instructions to construct their frogs.

I hope you have lots of fun this summer with these STEM challenges! If you want more summer STEM fun, check out my post here!

Awesome STEM Activities For Indoor Recess That Students Will Love

The weather is getting colder and that means that it is the time of year we will start spending our recess time inside. While we can still have fun, we are a little more limited in the ways to let the kids play or the things they can do. 

I love using inside recess to create and to build, and STEM is a great way to do that! STEM is great for recess because generally, it doesn’t even feel like learning! It is a hands-on activity that students love doing, so they won’t mind spending their recess on it.

A great way to incorporate it into your recess time is by setting up STEM stations. Come up with 3 or 4 STEM activities (depending on the length of your recess)  that you love and put stations or centers up around your classroom with all of the supplies needed. Let students wander to the station that appeals to them or put them in groups and rotate them every 10 or so minutes. 

I do recommend keeping it a little more structured so that you can ensure all of the STEM supplies are staying where they belong. The last thing you want is for the activity to be put on hold because someone stuck an essential supply in the wrong bin. 

Here are some of my favorite STEM activities that can be used as inside recess builds 

STEM Quick Challenges

This STEM resource is perfect for inside recess because it includes 12 simple STEM challenges that would fit into a school box. 

Activities to choose from include: 

  • Index Card Tower
  • House of Cards 
  • Pipe Cleaner Bridge
  • Popsicle Stick Catapult
  • Army Parachute
  • Fidget Spinners 
  • Building Squares Structures 
  • Dominoes Diving Board
  • Packing Peanuts Structures
  • Triangle Structures 
  • Button Designs
  • Button Towers

Another bonus with these STEM activities is that they can also be used for STEM soft starts (more on those here), in your regular STEM lessons, or after school clubs. 

If you are looking for some great supplies to have on hand for indoor recess STEM activities, here are the products I love. 

STEM Building Blocks

Math Manipulatives Linking Toys

indoor recess

Gears Building Set

Building Straws and Connectors Set

Brain Flakes Interlocking Disc Set

These supplies will give your students activities to do at recess that will engage their brain in STEM thinking as well as allow them to relax and blow off some steam during recess. With these activities, students won’t even mind when it’s time for indoor recess! 

What are your favorite indoor recess activities? Let me know in the comments!

indoor recess ideas

Fun End Of The Year STEM Activities To Kick Off The Summer

The end of the year is rapidly approaching! How excited are you? The end of the year is so fun for us and the kids. If you’re looking for a way to end the year with a bang, you have to try some easy end-of-the-year STEM challenges! 

Quick stem challenges are the perfect way to get students engaged in STEM thinking while having fun. This means you can easily add it to your lesson plans or even your class parties! Something I love about STEM is that a lot of times, students don’t even feel like they’re learning. 

end of year STEM activities

If this sounds like something you’d love to do but you’re a little confused about how it all works or what makes a good STEM activity- let’s start with the basics! 

What is a STEM challenge? 

STEM challenges are hands-on activities where students can research, design, engineer, and build solutions to the problems they are presented with. You can use any resources you have on hand to really encourage creative thinking! This encourages students to use their creativity, problem-solving skills, math skills, and more! 

What are some STEM project ideas? 

The sky is the limit with STEM! You can turn any project into a STEM activity with a little planning. For tons of STEM activities, make sure you check out my activities here. 

Looking for some great end-of-the-school-year STEM activities for kids? I have you covered! Here are two of my favorite STEM resources. 

End of the Year STEM Student Choice Awards

Have students create some snazzy end-of-the-year awards! These STEM awards require students to use simple supplies like tin foil and cups to create an Oscar! Once all of the trophies are done, hand them out to students Hollywood award show style. This is a fabulous way to reward students for all of their hard work this year and make them feel special. 

Popsicle STEM Activities

These STEM challenges for kids are the perfect way to kick off the summer season. This resource connects to the book The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Anne Renaud and Milan Pavlovic and it is sure to be a hit. This popsicle STEM activity allows students to research the invention of popsicles and Frank Epperson, the inventor of popsicles. Students will compare entrepreneurs and inventors. Students will problem solve and think critically as they complete their challenges. Connect research, history, economics, and STEM!

Both of these STEM activities are perfect for ending the year on a high note. If you are learning from a distance, don’t worry. There’s still plenty of STEM fun to be had. For end-of-the-year virtual STEM activities, check out these STEM challenges. 

If you are looking for more end-of-the-year celebration ideas, check out these ideas.

End Of The Year Student Gift Ideas

It’s the end of the year and it’s time to celebrate all of our students’ accomplishments and bid them goodbye. It’s so bittersweet! If you’re looking for a great way to end the year, you’re in the right place. I like to make the last day of school as special as possible.

This means I try to pack the day with things like: 

  • Summer-themed STEM activities
  • Student Awards
  • Treats
  • End of the year student gifts

For summer-themed STEM activities, check out this paper airplane STEM activity. If you need end-of-the-year student awards, I love these. For end-of-the-year treats for students, I like to get something simple and summery like popsicles because they are easy and super affordable. 

So what do you give students at the end of the year? 

Small gifts that are available to buy in bulk and for an affordable price are the way to go. You can pair them with a small piece of candy or a note from you!

If you are looking for the perfect end-of-the-year student gift ideas, I have some great options for you below.

These options are all easy, fun, affordable, and come in large packs so you have enough for everyone.  

  • Rubik’s cubes: https://amzn.to/3LkG6u5These are a classic favorite! Rubik’s cubes are compact, fun, and great for getting students to use their brains! This comes in a pack of thirty so you’ll have enough for your whole class. 
end of the year student gift idea: Rubik's cube
  • Motivational bracelets. https://amzn.to/3MixlCaThese bracelets are the perfect send-off! Each student will get their own little motivational message that’ll make them think of you each time they wear it. This gift would be especially great for fifth graders getting ready to leave elementary and enter middle school! 
  • World Stress Balls.https://amzn.to/39mmvfO These little stress balls that look like a little Earth would be perfect with a little note that says “You mean the world to me!”.
  • Mini Pop-It Keychainshttps://amzn.to/3wgXxI1. Pop-It’s are all the rage right now so these are sure to be a hit! This pack of 30 keychains is the perfect simple and fun gift. 
  • Galaxy Slime https://amzn.to/3a2SGBt
  • . Slime is messy and fun and kids can’t get enough of it! Get a 24 galaxy slime container to send your students off with smiles on their faces. 
  • Animal Erasers. https://amzn.to/3FJGKAo These are adorable and fun! It comes in a pack of 60 so you can send each student home with a little animal pal or two.  
  • Sunglasses. https://amzn.to/39lH8ZE. Sunglasses are classic and always a hit! They are the perfect accessory to head off into summer. 
  • Scratch Off Bookmarks .https://amzn.to/3FPgIvK These bookmarks scratch off to reveal rainbow colors! This pack comes with bookmarks and scratching sticks so students can create their own designs. 
  • Emoji Keychains. https://amzn.to/3lca9tq Students love emojis! These adorable emoji keychains come in a pack of 40 so you’ll have plenty for everyone. 
  • Mini Squishy Toys.https://amzn.to/3LfzCN6 These adorable little toys are the perfect sensory toy for students to squish and fidget with! 

If you’re looking for personalized end-of-the-year gifts for students, you can always attach a personal note to each student to their gift. This small touch won’t take much time and it will be a meaningful addition to your end-of-the-year gifts. 

What do you think? What is your favorite gift to give to students at the end of the year? Let me know in the comments!

End Of The Year Activities Students Will Love

It’s almost the end of the school year and it’s time to start planning those end of the year activities for our students! This time of the year is so bittersweet because while I am happy that we will all be getting a much-needed break, it’s hard to say goodbye to the kiddos I spent my last year with. We’ve been through a lot together! 

How do you end the school year on a positive note? 

This is a great time to look back on all of the fun we have had, reflect on all that we have learned, and celebrate how far we have all come! This is a great excuse to plan a big end of the year celebration! 

How do you celebrate the end of the year? 

I find this to be the perfect time to have an end of the year party with my students! Here are my favorite end of the year activities and some fun ideas for a class party. 

  • What’s a party without some fun treats? Ask parents for snack donations like crackers, chips, cookies, drinks, or even some cupcakes. These things are super simple but always a hit with students. 
  • If you took pictures throughout the school year, make a slide show showcasing your amazing year together and all you have accomplished! 
  • Set the tone with an upbeat, kid-friendly playlist. There are tons on Spotify or even on YouTube. 
  • Play some games. You can play musical chairs, Simon Says, Freeze Dance, or any other simple and fun game. These are easy to play and low pressure so everyone enjoys them. 
  • Hand out some end of the year gifts. If your budget permits it, this is guaranteed to put a smile on your students’ faces!  Check out these exciting and affordable gift ideas to get you started.  
  • Hand out end of the school year awards. Everyone loves getting an award for all of their hard work. Add a STEM spin on it with this STEM challenge. This is a collection of thirty classroom awards. Students create their Oscars (tin foil sculptures) and then vote for their classmates for the award that fits them most. Teachers then assemble the Oscar-like statues and present the awards Hollywood style! 

Looking for virtual end of the year activities? 

Don’t worry, you can still have fun virtually, just host an online classroom party for your students! You can still play music and games on Zoom.  These at-home STEM challenges are simple and engaging activities that students can complete at home with supplies they already have. You can also hand out digital student award certificates!  

I hope you love these ideas! What are your favorite ways to end the school year? Let me know in the comments!

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