Science Fun

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heatherberm, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2016

    I have about $400 left of a grant to spend on science-related stuff. I teach 6th grade, Earth and Space Science, but I also run an after school Engineering Club and teach an enrichment period that I can kind of do anything in. I teach at a low income school where the kids don't have a lot of access to technology and cool STEM-related stuff. I'd love to find something fun that fits into any of the above categories, preferably things that can be used over and over as opposed to one-and-done kits. Does anyone have any suggestions? This is the first year I've taught science so even if there are websites or catalogs you could suggest, I'd appreciate that too! I'm spending the rest of the grant on iPads so things that work in conjunction with tablets would be awesome too.
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 18, 2016

    Knex or Legos are great things to practice engineering with.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 18, 2016

    Lego robotics!
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 20, 2016

    Those are fun, but can be quite pricey. Even without the robotics bits, getting enough legos or knex for your class can still add up to hundreds of dollars. >__<
     
  6. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jan 20, 2016

    The Lego robotics set looked really, really awesome but yeah, unfortunately I wouldn't be able to buy enough for more than a few kids to use them at a time. Which is okay, but not really what I'd like out of this particularly money. Regular KNex sets are a good thought though. I was thinking too fancy but a lot of my kids would love them.

    I was also looking at some Little Bits Student Kids. Anyone have any experience with them?
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 20, 2016

    I just got the Library Pro kit of LittleBits, and they are AWESOME. I haven't had the chance to use them with my kids yet though, and I'm a little bit leery of doing so because they're so pricey, and though they are more durable than most electronics, I feel like they could still break pretty easily. I also worry about how to keep track of them and from walking out of my room.

    Also it's hard to think about how to add it to daily curriculum. It doesn't work like a standard circuit so you wouldn't really be able to use it to teach basic circuitry. I'm planning on using it as part of an invention project, where they have to invent an electronic product. The LittleBits would be for prototyping.

    However the Pro Library kit costs upwards of $5000 dollars. The cheaper kits only come with a handful of Little Bits each and still costs about $100 each. I almost feel it would be a better value to just buy a bunch of electronic components like LEDs, copper tape (for wiring), and batteries. You could have every kid doing stuff with that, and they're cheap to replace once used up, and it would really teach the basics of circuitry.

    I got a $300 set of Knex and they're really fun for random engineering design projects like 'Build the tallest tower' or 'Build an earthquake proof building' or 'Build a Car', etc. Some like Lego better. I'm a bit biased, since I had Knex as a kid instead of Legos.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2016

    We have enough in our technology lab for classes of students to work in partnerships. Maybe write a grant?
     
    Peregrin5 likes this.
  9. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jan 22, 2016

    We have tons of awesome STEM activities on our website and our Pinterest boards, much of it free or inexpensive.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jan 24, 2016

    I would suggest Engineering is Elementary. Their curriculum is free if you just want to download and print it yourself, but they do offer printed books/journals for teachers and students and supply kits if you don't want to buy the supplies yourself.

    http://www.eie.org/
     
  11. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jan 24, 2016

    I will definitely look at all the free/inexpensive stuff posted here. Thank you! I was only looking to spend money in this case because for once, I had some to spend. I think I'm going to go with a few different sets of KNex. Thanks for all the input!
     

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