Read Across America is coming up soon! I’m so excited about these STEM activities for Read Across America week because I love integrating STEM/STEAM activities with literature.
Dr. Seuss’ stories are silly, and this means the sky’s the limit with STEM! Read on to learn about these THREE highly engaging STEAM activities.
Wacky Writing Challenge
Each year, I give my students a writing challenge. Some folks forget that writing is a work of art. Writers go through similar processes as scientists and engineers. They’re always refining their work!
To start this activity, students are given spinners. They need a paperclip and a pencil to spin the wheel. This is how they create their story elements.
Once they have their story elements, they’re ready to move on to drafting a creative story. Check out this story my daughter wrote…
Elephant Nick played beach ball with Elephant Rick. It was a beautiful day, and along came Chick. ‘Can I play too?’ Chick asked Nick. ‘I’m really quick.’ she bargained with Rick. Nick ignored her, and gave the ball a flick.
Chick asked again, but this time to Rick. Rick ignored her, thinking that would do the trick, but Chick asked again and again, until she was sick. Nick spoke up and said, ‘Here’s the lick, we play by ourselves, and we don’t want to pick – YOU, a tiny, little chick, almost as small as a tick. Join our game if you think you are slick.
Chick joined their team and put her skills on thick. With a flick and a kick, the ball soared through the air. With a tock and a tic, everyone stared. One point for Chick! That did the trick. From that day on, Nick and Rick weren’t nearly as thick. They made new friends all thanks to Chick.Sophia Barnett
Additionally, I love the fact that this “Wacky Writing” integrates character education by having students teach a lesson. In this story, the lesson was cooperation.
Wacky Writing STEAM
After students create a story, they can create a puppet to read the story. They can opt to create a PowerPoint to present the story, or they can use the ChatterKid app to create a video.
We created Elephant Nick and it was super easy! These are super cute for Horton Hears a Who too! Here’s what you’ll need to create an elephant like this.
- lunch bag
- construction paper
- googly eyes
- cardboard tube
First, we started by measuring the front of the lunch bag to cut out our construction paper. Then, we glued the top and bottom pieces on (the top piece is the head of the elephant). Next, we cut out the ears and glued them to the back. After that, we cut a cardboard tube in half and covered it with construction paper. Finally, we put adorable googly eyes on him.
Didn’t he turn out cute?!
Go, Dog, Go-Cart!
In addition to that challenge, we do a wind-powered car challenge each year! This STEM activity is difficult, but it is so much fun! Here’s what you’ll need for this challenge.
- rubber bands
- paper clips
- index cards
- lifesaver mints
- construction paper
- craft sticks
To start, we read Go, Dog, Go! Then, we gave them the challenge: Get the dog to the party! Next, the students created a plan and generated a list of supplies they needed for the car. NOTE: They will not need everything!
Then, students created a car to travel more than three meters. We used a hairdryer to test the car. Finally, students tested their cars and tried their best to get the cars to the party.
The designs were interesting because students noticed that the placement of the sail affected their car. For example, if the sail is too close to the front of the car, then it will flip it over. Also, if the sail is too big, the car will blow away.
This is one of my most favorite STEM activities because IT’S MESSY! I love creating big messes because, in my opinion, that’s when we learn the best.
Here’s what you’ll need for this activity:
- plastic cups
- measuring spoons
- spoons or craft sticks for mixing
Again, you do not need all of these, but you will at least need cornstarch and water.
To start this activity, we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck. It’s a LOOOONG book, so I recommend breaking this one up into small reads.
Then, we discuss what makes a solid and a liquid. We examine each substance by wafting, using magnifying glasses, and feeling with our fingers.
Next, students record the properties of each substance. After that, they conger up a recipe for Oobleck. They must create a substance that has both properties of a liquid and a solid.
Finally, they must write their recipe clearly so that anyone can reproduce the oobleck. This is an impactful way to teach informative writing!
While these activities are super exciting and extremely beneficial, they also have the potential to be difficult – especially if you don’t scaffold your students. I’ve created writing pages, graphic organizers, and more to help your students be successful. Click here to get these from my teachers pay teachers store.
I like to do these on Friday as a part of our weekly STEAM activities. Read about those HERE. At last, I’d love to know how you and your students plan on celebrating Read Across America. Leave a comment below and tell me what you’re excited about doing.