October is upon us and that means one thing is on my youngest students’ minds: Halloween. In fact, back in September, during one of my very first classes with one of my kindergarten groups, when asked to respond to the prompt, “Tell me something that you like you do,” one little person replied, “Go to the Halloween store to pick out costumes.” So, needless to say, they’re definitely thinking about it!
In order to harness some of that energy, I created a series of Fall and Halloween themed STEAM challenges for my youngest engineers (Pre-K and kindergarten). I find that many STEAM challenges targeted at this particular age group often tend to be simplistic and not as open-ended as I’d like, so I wanted to find some tasks that would strike a happy balance between being independently accessible but also highly scalable, that is, leaving room for boundless complexity or creativity in devised solutions.
The ten activities that I devised for the month were incredibly fun to create and I couldn’t wait until it was finally time to roll them out this week. My plan with implementing these activities is to offer four different choices each time that my kindergarten classes come to the STEM lab. I’ll rotate and mix in different stations as we go to help keep it interesting, but also will offer the same activity over multiple weeks to hopefully see growth in the sophistication of their creations.
Week one of these activities has been a sweeping success! My kindergarteners particularly loved “Pumpkins on a Fence” and “Ghost Tower.” Here are a couple of their creations.
Having the students engaged in these activities also allowed me to introduce our BeeBots to small groups with a task I’m calling “BeeBot Trick-or-Treat.” I created a set of cards that features different types of human and animal homes. I put one set on my BeeBot grid board and kept the other as a set of cards. When I gathered my small groups, students took turns selecting a card and then trying to program the BeeBot to reach the corresponding spot on the board. It’s been a great opportunity to practice perseverance, as programming the Bee and understanding that he moves from his perspective and not his driver’s has been tricky for many of my kindergarteners to grasp. But, once they do reach the goal, there’s been a lot of dancing and celebrating!
Looking to add some STEAM fun to your classroom this fall? You can purchase a copy of my Frightfully Fun STEAM activities pack by visiting my TPT store. (This Way to the Product Page!) (Note: the product doesn’t include the BeeBot cards, but I’ll send you the set if you email firstname.lastname@example.org.)