Last week I shared organization tips for student supplies, and we are going to dive into another topic for organization tips for teaching. This week, we are focusing on organizing your STEM supplies. Before we get started, let’s define STEM supplies.
STEM Supplies are materials you would use for engineering or building new things. Examples include Legos, brain flakes, pipe cleaner, etc. It can also include materials you would need for operating motors, tools, etc. like batteries, tape, binder clips, etc. Robotics and other forms of technology may fit into this category too! This includes Beebots, Dash, etc.
I’ve organized these tips into three categories. These categories include common supplies, uncommon supplies, and STEM task cards. Common supplies are used weekly to daily while uncommon supplies are used monthly or seasonally.
Before reading, think about which materials you use daily versus the items you use seasonally. When organizing your room, divide your materials based on these things. Then, include a trash pile. Materials you did NOT use in the past year should probably go in the trash pile!
Follow these tips once you have it organized.
I like to organize simple STEM materials in pencil boxes. I label each pencil box so that students know exactly what’s inside the box. Having these labels also helps our students clean their materials efficiently, so they’re not mixing materials.
Then, I store these boxes on a three-tiered rolling cart so that students can pull the cart to their desks or so I can pull the cart to my small group. This helps me keep the pencil boxes organized vertically and off the floor. It’s a great space-saver, and it’s flexible for any classroom.
I store uncommon supplies in clear shoe box containers. Clear containers are helpful, so I can see what’s inside the container. These containers go inside my cabinets, and how often we use them determines the height at which I store them. I store seasonal things higher in the cabinet while I store monthly materials at eye level. It’s all about accessibility.
I’ve included a list of uncommon supplies in my free Guide to Orgnazing Your STEM Supplies. Make sure to grab that!
STEM Task Cards
I print the STEM task cards onto cardstock and laminate them. Then, I like to hole-punch the task card and place it on a binder ring. The binder rings help students flip through the STEM task cards, making it easy to hang the task cards onto a hook.
I like to use command strip hooks for hanging the STEM task cards. They are everywhere in my classroom! I have hooks on my three-tiered rolling cart and hooks on the sides of students’ desks. They are even near my small group center, so I can quickly grab them for games like STEM to Win, which we play with my math and grammar games.
I like to ensure everything is at eye level to prevent myself from buying more of the same supplies I already have. That’s the worst!
Want more organization tips for teaching?
Make sure you grab my guide for organizing your STEM supplies. I’ve included notes and a supply checklist so you don’t miss a thing when you’re organizing. I would’ve LOVED to have had something like this my first year teaching.
Next week, we will wrap up this fun organization series by sharing tips on how to tame the paper monster.