It’s no secret that teaching in 2020 has been stressful. Many teachers are feeling burnt out. Sometimes, what you need is a fun lesson that brings back the joy of teaching.
That’s why I put together these four January STEM activities. They’re perfect for weekly STEM!
New Year’s STEM Challenge
- BALL-oon Drop – This STEM activity challenges students to create a pulley system for a balloon. They work a lot with timing. The balloon must drop at exactly one minute.
I used tape, a balloon, straw, ribbon, and two ribbon spools for this activity. We hung the pulley from the top of a doorway. This way, the balloon could drop down to the floor. We did a fun writing activity, too, where students had to create their own New Year’s resolution.
Winter Sports STEM Challenges
- Speed Skater – This STEM activity is a part of my winter sports. You can read more about that here. This speed skater activity is so much fun!
We start with a little experiment to see if we can balance one leg standing against the wall. Then, we learned all about how speed skaters transfer their center of gravity while they speed around the ice rink. Next, we created these speed skaters using a pipe cleaner and a lifesaver. Finally, the kids tested them to see if they could balance the speed skaters. It’s a lot more challenging than it looks!
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day STEM Activity
- March on Washington – You’re definitely going to want this for Martin Luther King Jr. Day! This is so much fun and extremely informative. First, we started this lesson using our KWHL chart (what do I already KNOW, what do I WANT to know, HOW can I learn, and what did I LEARN).
Afterward, we read about Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington. Did you know that Martin was the last speaker of that day? Finally, students were to use their own mapping skills to recreate the march. We used a craft stick, tape, and a magnet. This was really neat!
To go along with this activity, check out my free Martin Luther King Jr. highlighter labels here.
Chinese New Year STEM Activities
- Chinese New Year – This activity will certainly bring you a lot of joy! Afterall, that’s what the Chinese New Year celebration is all about. For this lesson, we used our KWHL chart again. Then, we read about Chinese New Year traditions. Holy cow! They’re so much fun.
So, I decided to have some fun with this by creating 12 chopstick challenges! Now, not all Chinese use chopsticks, and I think it’s important that we teach our students that, but these incredible utensils are an important part of traditional Chinese culture.
First, students begin by designing their own chopsticks. Since most young children have difficulty picking up chopsticks, they can create their own using a rubber band, two pencils, and a small piece of rolled-up paper. Finally, students work through a series of challenges like balancing a “dumpling” on their forehead for one minute. For each successful challenge, they earn a Chinese animal on their scorecard. Students with the most animals win!
These winter and January STEM challenges are sure to be just what your students need to get reenergized for a new semester. You’ll get your kiddos thinking creatively, problem-solving, and designing with these fun lessons. To make it super easy for you, I bundled all of these resources in my January STEM Activities Bundle here. Want more winter STEM ideas? Check out my post here.
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