All in STEM

How to Make Test Prep Engaging with STEM

Test prep doesn’t have to be boring!

Whether you agree with state testing or not, it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. You can either fight it, or you can choose to set your students up for success by providing them with test prep activities to help them feel prepared.

Unfortunately, many of these activities take the form of worksheets and/or “drill and kill” types of activities. I am sad to admit that I used to use some of these activities with my third graders as we prepared for state testing, but then I found a better way.

During this testing season you don’t have to choose between fun classroom activities or test prep. You can have both with STEM. Let’s learn how!

Questioning Strategies for STEM Challenges

Do your kids give up easily when encountering a problem?

We get it. We've been there, both in parenting and as teachers. A kid stops trying when they get stuck on a task. They don’t want to work on it anymore. They just want the answer, or for you to do it for them.

It's our job as teachers and parents to help kids move forward when stuck and unlock the power of grit. After all, grit is a teachable skill.

We’ve found that a well-timed question can spark new thoughts in kids to develop perseverance through a tough task.

The following are some of our favorite questions to ask during each phase of the STEM process. You can grab a copy of these questions HERE and start supporting your students through difficult STEM challenges today!

Black History Month Read Alouds and STEM

What are you teaching your students during the month of February?

Don’t just teach, invite students into a story this month with STEM!

Create a space capsule to bring Apollo astronauts back to earth safely with Katherine Johnson, build an air powered rocket shuttle to launch Mae Jemison into space, invent something new with Lonnie Johnson, learn the power of words with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and code astronauts to the moon with the Hidden Figures!

The following are our top 5 STEM read alouds and activities to engage students in Black History Month.

Make a Valentine's Day Paper Circuit Card

Teach circuits in an engaging way by having students create a Valentine’s Day card that lights up!

Students learn the difference between an open and closed circuit. They also learn how a switch can be used to alternate between an open and closed circuit.

Students will have so much fun they won’t even realize how much they are learning!

Hidden Figures STEM and Coding Activities

Are your finding time to teach social studies?

Finding time for social studies was a struggle for me when I was in the classroom. As a teacher in a testing grade, I felt the pressure to spend the majority of my instructional minutes on math and language arts topics.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Fortunately, I found a way to integrate social studies with my math and language arts lessons through STEM!

Teach about Black History Month and Women’s History Month with STEM activities that incorporate, reading, writing, math, and making!

The Biggest Snowman Ever Build a Snowman STEM Activity

Getting kids to focus during the winter months was always a struggle for me. The cold temperatures made it impossible to go outside, leaving kids with no way to burn off energy. Times like these require extremely engaging lessons to keep students focused and engaged.

Fortunately, I found the secret to keeping students engaged, even during the long winter months…STEM! You too can increase student engagement during the long winter months with a STEM activity like building a snowman using the read-aloud The Biggest Snowman Ever.

Martin Luther King, Jr. STEM and STEAM Activities

Are your finding time to teach social studies?

Finding time for social studies was a struggle for me when I was in the classroom. As a teacher in a testing grade, I felt the pressure to spend the majority of my instructional minutes on math and language arts topics.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Fortunately, I found a way to integrate social studies with my math and language arts lessons through STEM!

Teach about Martin Luther King, Jr. this month with STEM activities that incorporate, reading, writing, math, and making!

Snowflake Bentley STEM Activity (Build a Snowflake)

Getting kids to focus during the winter months was always a struggle for me. The cold temperatures made it impossible to go outside, leaving kids with no way to burn off energy. Times like these require extremely engaging lessons to keep students focused and engaged.

Fortunately, I found the secret to keeping students engaged, even during the long winter months…STEM! You too can increase student engagement during the long winter months with a STEM activity like building a snowflake using the read-aloud Snowflake Bentley.