2017 - momgineer

Thursday, May 25, 2017

STEM Tale - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Fairy Tale STEM Activity for Snow White

The dwarfs often wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Snow White is fed up with their morning bickering. This STEM tale guides students through the process of creating a large table for the dwarfs as well as a seating arrangement so they can have a pleasant breakfast.

Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity


  • card stock for the characters
  • index cards, card stock, and tape for the table

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale


STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first or do your own storytelling. Discuss the similarities and differences as you read through the story. To get started, you need some dwarfs and a Snow White. Use figurines or the printable figures I have created (find the resource at the end of this post):


For this STEM tale, you will want the characters to have some weight to them to test out the table. Why? The dwarfs can get a little rowdy and stand on the table. Snow White may even join them from time to time.

Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. What is the problem that needs to be solved in the Snow White STEM Tale? There are actually two problems, and the booklet guides students through the problem-solving steps.



The unique engineering problem in this STEM tale is actually not the building part, but the logic part! If you haven't done any coding before, don't stress, this is a very basic coding activity (no tech required). My resource includes a warm up exercise (choose from IF/THEN or IF/THEN/ELSE) so your students will feel comfortable with conditional statements before getting into the story.

Once they have been introduced to conditional statements, they can then figure out who can sit next to whom at the table.

Design a Table

After brainstorming table design ideas, the students will then choose one to create. They will need to take measurements and then test out the table to make sure it supports all of the dwarfs.


STEM tales are a great way to foster teamwork and problem-solving. This STEM tale usually inspires amazing creativity and excitement from the littlest engineers.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Snow-White-and-the-Seven-Dwarfs-STEM-Activity-Breakfast-for-Eight-3080389?utm_source=Momgineer%20Blog&utm_campaign=STEM%20tale%20gear%20series

Pin the idea for later:

Fairy Tale STEM - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! Not only do students need to create a table for the dwarfs, they also need to use logic to solve a seating arrangement problem. Meredith Anderson Momgineer



To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

http://momgineer.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-run-successful-stem-tale.html

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series




momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

STEM Tale - Robin Hood Activity


Fairy Tale STEM Activity for Robin Hood

Robin Hood has gotten himself into a jam. He needs your students to help him design and create a new bow so he can win the archery competition and pay back the money he stole!

Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you downloads of value and information about educational resources. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full disclosure here.

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale


STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first or do your own storytelling. Discuss the similarities and differences as you read through the story. Another fun thing to do with this STEM tale in particular is to talk about various weapons used in warfare over the ages. One of my favorite book series for hands-on projects with kids is the Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction series:
http://amzn.to/2q9j0Rf

Once I checked out one of these books at my local library, I knew I had to have them all for our own library! They are fantastic as a reference as well, to help kids get ideas on how to use various objects in their designs.

Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. If you do multiple STEM tales, the process will become routine for your students and they will start using it when they solve other problems.

Design a Bow for Robin Hood

After brainstorming design ideas for a bow, the students will then choose one to create. They will test out the bow with an arrow (either a pencil or a cotton swab). I prefer using a pencil, because the string grips nicely on the eraser. Please make sure all students start behind a line and only shoot in one direction, or you can construct a simple "shooting range" if you are concerned about injuries. The image above shows three varieties of bow - spoons, craft sticks, and a bamboo skewer, all with string. This is an example of how to load the arrow:


Testing the Bow Design

Before testing, go over the ground rules several times. One violation and testing should immediately stop!
  • Bows can only be aimed at targets (use a printable target or simply stacked cups)
  • Only shoot when the range is clear
  • Retrieve arrows when instructed to do so

Growth Mindset and STEM

STEM tales are the perfect way to model a growth mindset. It is rare for an engineering design to work perfectly on the first attempt, so students will likely experience failure at some point. In improving the designs and working together, they will work through the issues and solve the problem. In this challenge, I provided long balloons and most of the kids wanted to try them out (what kid doesn't love a balloon?). What they learned is that the balloons stretch too much and the arrow doesn't fly as well as with a string.

Optional - Prepare the Bow Ahead of Time

The instructions for these bows are in the Mini Weapons book. The craft sticks are soaked in water so they are easier to bend, then you set them into the shape and let dry overnight:


This is a good option if you want to keep variability low. You can then Have the students try various rubber bands or strings.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/STEM-activity-Robin-Hood-Fairy-Tale-Challenge-2185193?utm_source=Momgineer%20Blog&utm_campaign=STEM%20tale%20gear%20series


Pin the idea for later:

Design and create a bow for Robin Hood! In this STEM tale, help Robin Hood repay his debts by winning the archery competition. | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

http://momgineer.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-run-successful-stem-tale.html

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series




momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Monday, May 22, 2017

STEM Tale - The Ugly Duckling Fairy Tale STEM Activity


Fairy Tale STEM Activity for The Ugly Duckling

The swan has found out that he is not an ugly duckling. While this is a happy revelation, he realizes he needs to be with his swan family. The ducklings can help, but there are some obstacles they must overcome.

Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you downloads of value and information about educational resources. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full disclosure here.
  • printable or rubber ducks (these are the ones pictured in the images in this post)
  • paper, cardboard tubes, craft feathers

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale


STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first or do your own storytelling. Discuss the similarities and differences as you read through the story. To get started, you need ducklings. Use rubber ducks or the printable figures I have created (find the resource at the end of this post):


Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. What is the problem that needs to be solved in the Ugly Duckling STEM Tale? In this story, the swan must travel through areas filled with predators to get back to his mother. The ducklings will go with the swan to make sure he gets back to his mother safely, but they must camouflage themselves so they won't get eaten.
Your students will read the story and draw their ideas in the booklet.

Design a Duckling Disguise

After brainstorming ideas, the students will then choose one to create. Will the duckling be camouflaged as another animal or blend into its surroundings?

Follow up with a Mapping Extension


Whenever possible, I try to extend STEM beyond science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In this case, there is a mapping extension activity. I created differentiated versions so you can use them for kids in K-3, and included the maps in both color and black and white. They can follow the path of the birds in the story:


This was one of my most fun STEM tales to create! The cute factor is through the roof, and the story really comes alive.

STEM tales are a great way to foster teamwork and problem-solving. This STEM tale usually inspires amazing creativity and excitement from the littlest engineers.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Ugly-Duckling-STEM-Activity-Swan-Goes-Home-2760699?utm_source=Momgineer%20Blog&utm_campaign=STEM%20tale%20gear%20series

Pin the idea for later:

Fairy Tale STEM - The Ugly Duckling! The ducklings are going to help swan find his way home to his mother. They need to get past predators, though, so they will need excellent camouflage! Meredith Anderson Momgineer



To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

http://momgineer.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-run-successful-stem-tale.html

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series




momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

STEM Tale - Jack and the Beanstalk


Fairy Tale STEM Activity for Jack & the Beanstalk

What if the giant isn't as bad as he seems? In this STEM tale, Jack and the giant work out a business deal to deliver golden eggs. Can your kids help safely deliver the golden eggs?


Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you downloads of value and information about educational resources. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full disclosure here.
  • plastic eggs (Easter eggs, or use the golden ones to make this extra special)
  • some type of cushioning material (air-filled packaging bags, water balloons filled with air, bubble wrap, etc.) OR materials that can be used to create a parachute (string and plastic bags)
  • rubber bands, string, produce mesh (that onions, avocadoes, come in), etc.
  • bouncy balls (optional, can be placed inside the eggs)

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale


STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first (or do your own storytelling!). This also leads to great discussions during the engineering design process. You can talk about the similarities and differences as you read through the story.


Depending on what materials you can provide, the designs can turn out totally different.

Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. First, they need to identify the problem (deliver the egg safely from high up). The egg needs to be protected as it is dropped. It also needs to be removed when it lands to complete the delivery.

Design a Way to Safely Drop an Egg

After brainstorming ideas, the students will then choose one they can build and test. This is an initial design that uses a cup, container, mesh and rubber bands. Will this be enough to protect the egg from a drop or will it need cushioning material? This will be determined in the testing phase!

Test the STEM Tale Prototype


After the prototype is built, the kids need to test it out. If something doesn't work right, it's time to go back and improve the design. If the egg falls out or opens (or the ball drops out if you are using the ball), the design needs to be improved. The design below uses an oatmeal box and cleverly placed rubber bands to suspend the egg inside the box!



STEM tales are a great way to foster teamwork and problem-solving. This STEM tale usually inspires amazing creativity and excitement from the littlest engineers.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/STEM-activity-Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-Fairy-Tale-Challenge-2357324?utm_source=Momgineer%20Blog&utm_campaign=STEM%20tale%20gear%20series

Pin the idea for later:

Fairy Tale STEM - Jack and the Beanstalk! Help Jack and the giant with their new business venture of delivering golden eggs. Meredith Anderson Momgineer


To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

http://momgineer.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-run-successful-stem-tale.html

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series




momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

STEM Tale - The Three Little Pigs Fairy Tale Activity


Fairy Tale STEM Activity for The Three Little Pigs

The wolf needs a new house. Why? He isn't as bad as the pigs think. He doesn't really want to eat them after all but is just suffering from a bad case of seasonal allergies. No, really. 

Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you downloads of value and information about educational resources. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full disclosure here.
  • cardboard boxes, recyclables, tape 
  • weights (pennies, wooden blocks, etc.)
  • cereal box to make the testing station
  • a fan to mimic the wolf's sneeze at the testing station (one that can be tilted to blow straight up is desirable for this challenge)

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale


STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first or do your own storytelling. What is the same or different about this story? Compare and contrast. You will also need to build a testing station. Cut a small window out of both the front and back of a cereal box. You will then attach this to the fan as the testing station. Scroll down to see the finished testing station in action.


Use either the wolf printable provided in the resource I've created (linked below) or a figurine.

Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. The new house for wolf needs to be large enough for him to get in and out of, and it must withstand the force of his allergic sneeze.


Designing a House

After brainstorming house design ideas, the students will then choose one to create. They will need to take measurements to make sure that the wolf will fit in the house and that the house will also fit on the testing station. Then they need to test out the house to make sure it doesn't blow away. Depending on the materials used, this is easier said than done!


Though the above design does indeed work for the size constraint, it blew right off the testing station! More weight was obviously needed as the material was quite light and flimsy. Here it is being tested after more weights were added:


The design above now works! There are many possible house designs for this challenge. Here are some samples:

Note that they don't have to be fancy to work, but they do need to meet the design constraints.

Growth Mindset and STEM

STEM tales are a great way to foster teamwork and problem-solving. They are also the perfect way to model a growth mindset. It is rare for an engineering design to work perfectly on the first attempt, so students will likely experience failure at some point. In improving the designs and working together, they will work through the issues and solve the problem.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:

The Three Little Pigs STEM Tale

Pin the idea for later:

To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

http://momgineer.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-run-successful-stem-tale.html

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series




momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

STEM Tale - Hansel and Gretel Trap the Witch


Fairy Tale STEM Activity for Hansel & Gretel

Hansel and Gretel can outsmart the witch and escape (with a little help from your students)!


Materials Needed for this STEM Fairy Tale Activity

  • printable characters or figurines of different sizes
  • various recyclable materials (cereal boxes, cups, etc.)
  • other crafting supplies (craft sticks, pipe cleaners, straws, etc.)

Before Getting Started with the STEM Tale


STEM tales work best if you read the original fairy tale first (or do your own storytelling!). This also leads to great discussions during the engineering process, as kids love to compare the original story with the new version.

Print and assemble the characters. These have been designed so that the kids are smaller than the witch and will be able to escape the trap, while the witch will not.

Fairy Tale STEM with the Engineering Design Process 

I have designed STEM tales so that as students read the story, they will follow the engineering design process. First, they need to identify the problem (the kids need to escape from the witch). For this challenge, students will need to measure the dimensions of each character and then design their witch trap so that the kids can pass through but the witch can't. They build the trap around themselves and then escape, leaving the witch trapped.

Design a Trap for the Witch

After thinking of various witch traps, the kids will then choose one they can build. They will plan out the materials and design, and then construct their prototype based on the plan. The above trap is made with a cereal box with the spaces cut out from it (cuts had to be measured). The below trap is made with straws and pipe cleaners (straw spacing had to be determined and applied).

Test the STEM Tale Prototype


After the prototype is built, the kids then test it out. If something didn't work right, it's time to go back and improve the design. If the witch can escape, the design needs to be improved. If Hansel and Gretel are trapped in with the witch, the design also needs to be improved.

STEM tales are a great way to foster teamwork and problem-solving. This STEM tale usually inspires amazing creativity and excitement from the littlest engineers.

To find the full resource, which includes an 8-page booklet, printable characters, check list for self-evaluation, and tips, visit this link:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/STEM-activity-Hansel-and-Gretel-Fairy-Tale-Challenge-2370801?utm_source=Momgineer%20Blog&utm_campaign=STEM%20tale%20gear%20series


Pin the idea for later:

Fairy Tale STEM - Hansel and Gretel Trap the Witch! Help the kids trap the witch so they can escape. Can you design a trap? Meredith Anderson Momgineer



To read more about how to conduct a STEM challenge, visit this post:

http://momgineer.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-run-successful-stem-tale.html

To see all posts in this series, click here:

STEM Tales Blog Series




momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!