Summer STEM With Sammie STEAM
Are you looking for some summer STEM challenges for your families? If you already read our blog about our family STEM challenge involving beavers, you know that our families asked us for more fun activities that they could do with their children! One morning, my husband and I were sitting at the breakfast table discussing how to go about this. Yup, that’s what two STEM teachers do!
When I taught second grade, I read FLAT STANLEY to my classes and did FLAT STANLEY activities with great success! For those of you who aren’t familiar with FLAT STANLEY, in the book written by Jeff Brown, Stanley is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. Stanley’s parents put him in an envelope and mail him to a friend in California. Shortly after the book was written, the FLAT STANLEY project was designed. Students color a cutout of Stanley and mail him to someone. The person who receives him takes him places. The person photographs him/herself with Stanley at this location. The receiver writes about Stanley’s adventures and sends him back to the student. The idea behind this project is to facilitate a love of reading and writing while teaching students about new places. We thought, “Why not create a character that promotes a love of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Most kids love dogs, so why not make the character a dog!
SUMMER STEM Turned STEAM
I discussed this idea with my sister, Lynn. Lynn is an art teacher in a nearby elementary school. Like us, she was looking for ways to engage her students over the summer! Together, we designed Sammie STEAM the adventure dog! He is designed to look like a cross between the scientist Albert Einstein and the artist Leonardo Da Vinci.
We explained the challenge to our students and had them color Sammie in class. Then, we sent home a letter explaining the challenge to the parents. We also sent home a basic list of ideas for challenges. However, families were free to do anything related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, the Arts, or a combination of all of them. To document the activities, they sent us photographs. We also created badges that students could cut out and glue on Sammie’s labcoat (one for each area). Needless to say, students had a great time with their families doing their challenges!
When students returned to school in the fall, we held an awards ceremony. Families who completed challenges in each area were invited in for a reception. They shared their adventures and received a Sammie STEAM award.
Check out some of the student projects!
STEAM All Year
While we asked families to complete the challenge during the summer, Sammie can be sent home anytime. You can send Sammie home over a break or have a Sammie STEAM month in September to get families on board with STEM. In addition, Sammie can be sent home with students that take a week off of school to go on vacation (we even have Sammie STEAM writing paper in our packet).
Have some STEAM Fun!
Click on Sammie to start having fun now! We would love to have you send us some pictures of your adventures! You can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can add some to our blog!
If you want our complete packet, click the picture below.
If you want some end-of-the-year freebies, check out these resources from the Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Cooperative.