Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills: learning the content

Are you old enough to remember the short films schools used to show when teaching science content?  I am.  They were usually old, grainy, black and white films (and I mean film, on film strips, presented on a noisy film projector), but the worst thing about them was how incredibly boring they were.  That kind of teaching just didn't inspire a whole lot of learning!

 There are so many other, more exciting ways to present content information, and to help our students learn the facts they need to know.  Today I'm going to show you some of my favorites.
STEAM: 7 ways to teach the content, from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

My students love to observe and explore, so I have always included real animals in my classrooms.  My first year teaching I had a fish tank (good plan), raised caterpillars (good plan), had plants in the classroom (good plan), and raised two ducklings (NOT a good plan - they poop a LOT, smell, and need fresh water a couple of times a day).  Since then we've also had tadpoles and frogs, earth worms, various insects, herb, vegetable and flower gardens, a hamster, and an outside area full of possibilities.  Children (and adults) find nature fascinating, and can learn a tremendous amount from observing the plants and animals in our world. Why not provide a way for them to record what they see?
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Frog-Life-Cycle-3-Part-Cards-Observation-Journal-and-Worksheets-2440386

Of course, some things are best learned about at a safe distance (sharks and piranhas for example), or are inaccessible.  When we use awesome pictures and information presented at an age appropriate level, factual content can be fascinating and engaging.   To make it easier to find just the right text, most of my guided reading books include texts at multiple levels.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rainforest-Readers-Piranhas-Guided-Reading-Book-1782868

Even emergent readers want to learn about the world around them, so it's important to find non-fiction texts they can master.  
Solution #3: informational craftivities
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Polar-Bear-Craft-and-Non-Fiction-Guided-Reading-Book-2277562
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Polar-Bear-Craft-and-Non-Fiction-Guided-Reading-Book-2277562
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sleepy-Bear-Guided-Reading-Book-Craft-2276061

 Read and write the room activities can include non-fiction learning...
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tide-Pool-Write-the-Room-Matching-Games-and-Reading-Comprehension-3202339

... and so can logic puzzles....
Solution #5: Non-fiction logic puzzles
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Insect-Logic-Puzzles-2510348

... and simple sentence picture match activities!
Solution #6: sentence picture match
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Arctic-Sentence-Picture-Match-Reading-Center-1633241

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Arctic-Sentence-Picture-Match-Reading-Center-1633241

If you've been reading this series about STEAM learning, you know I also like to make thematic resources, to incorporate science, technology, engineering, art and math.  I love it when everything I need is together, ready to go.

What are your favorite ways to make learning content engaging?  Is there a subject you wish you could find this kind of resources for?  (I'm always looking for ideas of resources to create!)  Let me know in the comments!

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