May Flowers STEM Fun

With real Spring weather (some warm days!) finally upon us I decided it was time for a more bright and colorful activity for the STEM lab. The saying, April showers bring May flowers was inspiration for a Tulip STEM challenge for students.

The lesson fused social studies, science and reading beautifully. We are studying the seven continents so we were able to explore a place in Europe (The Netherlands) famous for their tulips, while creating using the STEM process. This week in reading our anthology featured Gail Gibbons, From Seed to Plant, so the tie in was perfect. Gotta love when that happens.

For the lesson students leaned about tulips, where they come from, how they grow, and how they are harvested. I then presented students with a real world problem: create something to hold tulips in while you are picking them so they don’t bend and break.

These baskets could use some student improvements

To show how this problem connects to something in the real world I shared my own tulip picking experience. I wished I had, had a different container that supported the tulips and their long stems better. This is where students would come in to create.

To up the ante, students were given a budget of $5 (pretend money) to purchase materials for their designs. This was a last minute addition since we were studying money, and boy was it a hit! Students were thoughtful in their designs debating how much to spend of supplies. Then they had to think about what coins or bills to use to come up with the amount of money needed for what they needed. It was such a success I am planning to go back and make two versions of all my STEM lessons, one with a pretend money budget to use for next year.

As usual students blew me away with their designs. The testing center we set up was busy with activity as students finished, tested and then made changes to what they created. Having the fake tulips was a nice touch, I think it added a bit of authenticity to the whole experience.

This was a great STEM activity. Students were excited to jump in and collaborated wonderfully with one another. It is always so interesting to see what they come up with and see so many variations in solutions to the same problem.

I can’t wait for our next trip to the STEM lab as we get ready to celebrate Memorial Day with a flag holder challenge!

Katy

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