STEM Collection for K-5: Non-Print Resources

Here’s an annotated bibliography for some great non-print resources that one can add to their school’s STEM collection, along with some seeds for teachers/media specialists.

set game sequence sumoku snap circuits minecraft legos equate game GoldieBlox 1 GoldieBlox 2

LEGO Education Brick Set (884 Pieces)

This set includes bricks in 9 colors and 11 sizes and supports a group of five students. Hands-on, curriculum-based resource that encourages creativity and real-life problem solving; engages learners through play. $55 (Amazon) UPC: 858160448466

 

Seeds:

  • School librarian can have LEGOs as a free play station – maybe as something that students have to “earn” in order to play. Otherwise, have a rotation system.
  • After-school LEGO club – librarian can provide instructions (see LEGO Ideas Book), have themed building days, or encourage free play. Display creations for a week or before the next club meeting.
  • Classroom teachers can check out the set to enrich lesson plans. Scholastics have many ideas and templates on how LEGOs can be used in math to teach part/whole concepts, arrays, fractions, etc. (See http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/12/using-lego-build-math-concepts.) LEGOs can be used to supplement science lessons as well (e.g. students can use LEGOs to model human body system, animal life cycle, food chain, ecosystem, planets, etc.).
  • LEGO robotics (would require additional purchases – such as the Minestorms kits)

 

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 by Elenco

Students learn how to create 101 different working electronic circuits and devices. Each kit contains 30 color-coded, real circuit components that snap together easily, as well as an easy-to-follow instruction book. Encourages hands-on learning, critical thinking skills, and connection to real-life situations; fosters persistence/resilience. Grades 3-5. $80 for 4 sets (Amazon) ASIN: B00CIXVITO

Seeds:

  • School librarian can have Snap Circuits as a free play station – maybe as something that students have to “earn” in order to play. Otherwise, have a rotation system.
  • After-school science and tech club where students learn how to build circuits and various projects.
  • Classroom teachers can check out the sets to use in the classroom as a supplement to their lesson on circuits and electricity. Reinforce concepts such as parallel and series circuits, current, resistance, and various forms of electricity (e.g. in sound, in light, etc.). Discuss real life applications of circuits.
  • Have students design their own circuits on paper and hypothesis what it might do/how it might work. Once they built it on the board according to their design, test to see if it works accordingly or not. If not, try to figure out why not and make adjustments as necessary.

 

Honors/Awards:

  • The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
  • Toy 100 Best Children’s Products
  • Toy 100 Best Educational Products

 

MinecraftEdu by Mojang

The makers of Minecraft, with the help of educators, created a classroom version of the popular game that supports every subject area, from STEM to language, history, digital citizenship, music, and art. It has a growing collection of peer-reviewed “lesson worlds” and activities created by teachers to enrich their classroom teaching. Fosters creativity, spatial skills, collaboration/communication skills; builds a community of learners; teaches digital citizenship; reinforces curriculum and learned concepts in engaging way. Grades K-5. Educational Server, $41; Licenses for 25 workstations, $350 (Mojang.com)

 

Seeds:

  • Afterschool Minecraft Club – provide students with a safe, social environment in which they can engage in creative play, build/explore worlds, collaborate on projects, etc.
  • Due to open-ended nature of Minecraft environment, the game can be used to enrich lessons in almost any subject area. For example, for math, students can be asked to create pens to hold their animals. The pens must have a fixed area of, say, 36m2. How many different lengths and widths can the pens have and what are the different corresponding perimeters? The students must work out the solutions on paper before building them virtually in Minecraft. Similarly, students can practice basic multiplication or divisions in Minecraft. Task them to build 9 pens, each with 4 pigs in it. How many pigs will you have? What if I want only 3 pigs per pen. How many extra pens will I need? Are there other ways to arrange the pigs?
  • For science/social studies, students may be asked to build a community or world that have certain natural resources or commodities. Or, students may be asked to work on map skills by building a world that embodies a variety of elevations, landmarks, roads, rivers, etc. Students can show what they know about food nutrition by building a food pyramid, with labels.
  • More lesson plans/worlds and tutorials can be found at http://services.minecraftedu.com/worlds/ and http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Main_Page.
  • YouTube also has many MinecraftEdu lessons/tutorials

 

Honors/Awards:

  • Game of the Year, PC Gamer UK, 2010
  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Independent Games Festival, 2011
  • Multiple awards at the Game Developers Choice Awards, 2011

Goldie Blox Kits by Goldie Blox

Created by Debbie Sterling, a female engineer from Stanford University, these Goldie Blox sets (which come with construction pieces and accompanying books and templates) aim to grow spatial, critical thinking and problem-solving skills and teach basic engineering principles. Design and color schemes appeal to young girls, the company’s target audience. Grades K-3. $55 for 3 sets (Amazon) ASIN: varies

 MATH GAMES

These math games can be used in the media center as a free time station, or be checked out by classroom teachers to provide fun ways for students to increase math fluency.

 

Equate: The Equation Thinking Game by Conceptual Math Media

Students practice creating equations crossword/Scrabble-style. Engaging way to practice using basic math operations, improve fluency, etc. Grades 2-5. $20 (Amazon) ASIN B00004U1RA

Sequence Numbers by Jax

Kids try to get 5 game chips in a row by matching their card – which has an addition or subtraction question – to an answer square on the board. Reinforce addition/subtraction facts and fluency in engaging/fun way. Grades 2-5. $18 (Amazon) ASIN: B001UEMQLQ

 

Set by SET Enterprises

Each card in Set contains one of three symbols, in varying numbers (up to three), colors, and degrees of shading. Players are dealt 12 cards each and quickly make sets of three cards that are connected in some way. Improves perception, pattern recognition, shapes/colors. Winner of over 20 “best game” awards. Grades 3-5. $10 (Amazon) ASIN B00000IV34

 

Sumoku by BlueOrangeGames

A cross between a numbers crossword and Sudoku, Sumoku is where players arrange their numbered tiles so they add up to be a multiple of a rolled “key” number. Students practice addition/multiplication and fluency; subtraction is also used in scorekeeping. Grades 3-5. $15 (Amazon) ASIN: B0037OQDYS

 

Classic Tangoes by Tangoes

Students are challenged to reproduce 1 of 54 tangram puzzles; package comes with two sets of Tangoes so two players can challenge each other. Encourages creative play and problem-solving; fosters persistence/resilience; increases familiarity with geometric shapes and geometry understanding; improves spatial skills. Grades K-5. $10 (Amazon) ASIN B00000K3BU

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