Sunday, September 4, 2016

Toothpick Structures STEAM Activity #2

Our first activity Straw Building was a sort of pre-assessment for our STEAM classes.  It enabled us to get a glimpse of the students and how they ARE in an environment that is open-ended, unstructured, and driven by inquiry.  We gave the students 30 straws and tape and let them build, create and struggle.  Most students embraced the lack of constraints placed upon them, however, there is a select group of students who struggle in this situation - the compliant, rule following, success seeking students.

The STEAM activities at the beginning of the school year expose those students who are used to succeeding with little effort and/or risk taking.  These students crumble in an environment that is open.  They play it safe and know exactly what to do to "get the A" in a traditional setting.  Outside of the classroom, these kiddos can be extremely creative, but in class they want to know exactly what and how to do everything.

At the same time STEAM activities are extremely freeing for those students who struggle to comply in a traditional classroom setting.  The open-endedness provides a no holds barred situation for the kiddos who feel confined in the traditional setting.  That being said here is our next lesson:

Toothpick Building CLICK HERE to access HyperDoc
First and Second Graders

From now on, our STEAM activities will have a HyperDoc or Multi-Media Text Sets to engage and inspire and push the students thinking.  I am gathering the lesson on this spreadsheet so that the AUSD teachers and all others can easily access the lessons etc... CLICK HERE to access STEAM Lesson Spreadsheet.  Have  a great week!


  1. I loved reading this! It's good to know potential pitfalls as well as the successes. Keep blogging my friend!

    1. Will do! I love hearing about how your year is going, makes me want to go back in the classroom full time!! We need to chat soon!