I also attach the following family letter to the first STEM project of the year to offer a more detailed explanation to parents. Since I am a specialty teacher, I keep these projects entirely optional so as not to pile on too many homework assignments on top of regular reading and math. I also allow them to work with partners outside of class, if they choose. Around 75% of my students choose to complete them each month, and they are so excited to share their creations with their peers.
On the back of their STEM assignment sheet, I copy this planning sheet for students to brainstorm ideas, make lists of needed materials, and sketch blueprint. We often talk about how important it is for engineers to carefully plan inventions before putting them into action.
I mean really…Aren’t their imaginations and creations absolutely INCREDIBLE?!! And these aren’t even all of them! They never cease to amaze me!
Clockwise from top left corner:
*Acorn jewelry (necklace and earrings)
*Finger puppets to represent the student’s family
*Shark made from painted rocks
*Owl made from pinecones
Other creations included a cross bow made from branches, catapult made from branches, birdhouses, wooden boat, artwork created with printmaking and nature scenes, and so much more.
When students bring projects back to class throughout the month, we display them on this shelf for all classes to admire.
I allow each child a few minutes to present their project to their class, using the following questions to guide them.
Students are assessed and given feedback for projects using the following rubrics, although since they are optional, it is not counted toward a grade.
Original article and pictures take http://teachoutsidethebox.com/2015/10/when-your-kids-beg-for-homework-stem-family-projects-4/ site