STEM is Elementary Units
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Be “Cool” With Popsicle Engineering
Amy Callahan Bliss (2018) Norton Elementary School Kindergarten
This unit introduces kindergartner students to science and engineering processes and tools. The series of lessons and experiences prepares them to take the popsicle engineering challenge! During the culmination of the unit they get to enjoy eating their creations!
Bacteria! It’s Everywhere!
Jennifer Davis (2018) Talbot Elementary Kindergarten
This is a gross science and engineering unit to discover what germs (bacteria) are and how we can keep ourselves and our classroom environment cleaner. Your class will discover how germs are spread, grow germs, problem solve ways to keep our classroom clean and write protocol to be followed within the classroom. Grade level presentation ideas are included.
Soil from Spoiled: Engineering a Compost Habitat for Red Wigglers
Andrea Chavez (2018) Littlewood Elementary School K-2 Multi-age
During this STEM unit, students will be tasked with creating a compost habitat for Red Wiggler Earthworms. Students will learn about living and nonliving things, the habitat and life cycle of an Earthworm, and the importance of composting in nature and as a sustainable practice. Students will also be engaged in the engineering design process as they conduct research, collaborate, use their senses to make observations, and collect and record data. This cross-curricular unit allow students to be creative, problem solve, and learn to care for our Earth!
Meagan Vaughn (2018) Finley Elementary School 2nd Grade
Are your students’ classroom supplies all over the place? Let nature help get your class organized in this fun beginning of the year unit on biomimicry! In this STEM unit, students will learn how engineers use nature to solve problems by studying two of nature’s smallest organizers – ants and bees. Students will use their learning to brainstorm, collaborate, create, and test a tabletop organizer of their designing. Over the course of two weeks, students will learn through the engineering design process that they can solve problems! Science, math, language arts, and engineering approximations make this unit an engaging and rigorous addition to your curriculum.
Engineering a Marshmallow Catapult: Ready, Set, Launch Those Marshmallows!
Lynda Harris (2018) Finley Elementary School 3rd Grade
This engineering unit covers science, math, and ELA skills. Based on the book The Marshmallow Incident, students will work together, learn the engineering design process and create a catapult that can launch a marshmallow at a given distance. This unit is more challenging based on the approximations and constraints that each group must overcome. Students will experience failure, but that is a part of the learning process.
Sarah Hersey (2018) Williams Elementary School 3rd Grade
In this unit, students will be introduced to engineering and complete a partial design process. Your students will be presented with an authentic problem: the importance of collecting specimens from the field necessitates effective and humane tools to do so. Working in groups and independently, students will apply their knowledge of engineering design to create the best minnow trap. Multiple trials and troubleshooting are emphasized in this unit as approximations of true design.
Sea Turtle Engineering
Mackenzie McNickle (2018) Foster Elementary School 3rd Grade
Did you know that Hurricane Irma wiped out nearly half of all sea turtle nests in Florida? Only one out of every one thousand eggs make it to adulthood! In this unit, students studied sea turtles and their nesting behavior, and then developed a solution to the problem by building a structure to fit over nests. After testing their structures in a “hurricane simulator,” they took on the role of social activists by preparing collaborative Google Slides presentations in which they plead their case to concerned stakeholders.
Engineering a Habitat’s Humidity
Kayla Sutcliffe (2018) Glen Springs Elementary 3rd Grade
This is an engineering unit that covers ELA, math, and science standards in which students will be designing an optimal temporary habitat for a future classroom pet, a hingeback tortoise. Based on background research conducted and their knowledge of condensation, students will identify what humidity level the tortoise needs, as well as what its habitat is like. Each group will research, brainstorm, collect and analyze data, and design their final plan. They will then communicate and present this information to the rest of the class.
There’s Still Time
Lisa Williams (2018) Foster Elementary School 3-5 Media
What will happen if Florida loses its state animal to extinction? I do not want to imagine that, would you? In this activity, students researched the endangered Florida Panther and its habitat in search of a solution of the factors that make the Florida Panther endangered of becoming extinct by automobiles and the loss of habitat. Students learned and applied the steps of the Engineering Design Plan in sequential order as they sought a solution to help save the Florida Panther. Once data was gathered and students understood these factors, students independently played around with possible solutions by experimenting with 3D objects such as blocks and Legos. After brainstorming in teams, students built a prototype of the team’s best solution using 3D Doodler pens.
The Secrets of Soil Science: How Plant Roots Affect Soil Stiffness
Erica Marsh (2018) Global Academy School (Atlanta) 4th Grade
In this project, students explore how soil stiffness and bearing capacity are affected by plant roots. Students learn about the significance of soil mechanics as it relates to civil engineering and soil erosion. Students study these concepts through experiments conducted with soil that contains well-rooted plants and soil without plants.
Can You Help Bartholomew Save the Kingdom of Didd from the Oobleck?: Engineering in the World of Dr. Seuss
Crystal Tessmann (2018) Finley Elementary School 5th Grade
This is a cross-curricular unit that focuses on how engineers approach problems through the engineering design process. Students will read Dr. Seuss’s Bartholomew and the Oobleck. This book will allow them to explore fifth grade language arts standards while also providing an engaging scenario for exploring engineering. Students will be exposed to a simulated laboratory environment in which they use personal protective equipment, collaborate with peers, and measure mass and volume. Students must work within established constraints to save their Lego kingdoms from the oobleck.
Make Way for 3-D Printing
Amanda Spotz (2018) Lincoln Middle School 6th Grade
This unit is designed to give students an understanding of one aspect of what a biomedical engineer does and the ability to experience and participate in various steps in the engineering design process. Students will work in teams to carry out investigations in 3-D printing modeled after similar research being performed by current students at the University of Florida.
We Can be Engineers, Too!
Sasha Abreu, M.Ed. (2017) J.J. Finley Elementary School 2nd Grade
This is an introductory unit on the engineering design process. Students will follow the path of a young 14-year-old boy from Africa and how he became the village engineer, bringing hope and power to his people. They will then go through the engineering design process, themselves, to solve a real world problem when designing a paper flier. The goal is to have students engage in many of the approximations of practice that engineers take part in so students can see themselves as engineers when completing their design challenge.
Wonderful World of Weather: Wind, Creation, and Imagination
Brunilda E. Lopez, M. Ed. (2017) Littlewood Elementary 2nd Grade
This weather unit focuses on students learning the importance of the wind and how to use it properly. The students will then apply that knowledge to design a windmill will engaging in approximations of practice that engineers use on a daily basis. The teamwork done as student groups brainstorm, share ideas, and prepare their projects is extremely important to engineers and scientists.
Wind Tube Wonders: Building Prototypes Using the Engineering Design Process
Maddie McClinton, M.Ed. (2017) Stephen Foster Elementary School 4th Grade
This unit teaches students the engineering design process through creating prototypes and testing them in a controlled environment called a wind tube. Students utilize skills of real STEM practitioners such as maintaining a growth mindset, attending to precision, and fostering collaboration, while covering standards related to properties of matter.
Engineering a Minion Rescue
Kelly McGraw, M.Ed. (2017) J.J. Finley Elementary School 2nd Grade
This unit will inspire students to see themselves as STEM practitioners by guiding them through each step of the engineering design process in an engaging way. The minions have been stranded on an island and students will need to save them by creating boats. They will research, test materials, budget, design, create, improve, and present their results. This unit integrates standards in science, math, language arts, and social studies by incorporating approximations of the work that STEM practitioners do.
Enchanted Engineering: Let’s Get Started!
Jan Seebeck, B.A. (2017) Littlewood Elementary School Kindergarten
This unit builds on fairy tales, which are already a part of the elementary curriculum, to introduce related engineering “challenges.” The challenges offer the perfect opportunity to integrate hands-on activities that cover many ELA standards, while also incorporating elements of the engineering design process as students create, design, plan and build. Yes, even Kindergarteners can be engineers!
Flight of the Fruit
Ashley Whitehead, M.Ed. (2017) Littlewood Elementary K-2 Multi-Age
This unit contains several lessons that cover STEM approximations such as collecting data, working cooperatively, and asking questions. Many cross-curricular standards are addressed throughout the unit. In this unit students will use their five senses, creativity, and questioning attitude to explore a variety of fruit and the effects of gravity on said objects.
pHun with pHood
Brandi Wisecarver, BA (2017) Joseph Williams Elementary K-5 Science
This unit allows for students to experience being a STEM professional using approximations of practices used in a laboratory facility. Science and ELA standards are applied to promote collaboration, fidelity, and note-taking while using the pH level of food to motivate the students to progress through the process of scientific inquiry. Through hands-on activities the students will conduct research, record and analyze data, and present their findings to their peers.