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I want my little ones to have chances to explore, be creative, and be problem solvers. With that in mind I’m trying to become very intentional about having a STEM type activity weekly. Yes, they can get messy. Yes, they take more time than you planned. But I know it is worth it. Especially when their Karate teacher asks them what was the highlight of their day, and they excitedly tell her about their 3D robot.
We’ve been working on 3D shapes for about a week now, and it was time to wrap it up with a project. We started by pre-planning. Using a list of shapes we worked through what body part they would be. They figured out each one until it came to the last shape. Even though the pyramid was not the last shape on the list, both boys had skipped it because they didn’t know how to use it. When we went back to it, they had already decided on a head, arms, legs, and body. They honestly were stumped for awhile on how to use the pyramid when one of them decided pyramids would make great shoes. Of course, the other agreed and we were ready for the next step.
Next we studied the shapes. We had done this while building the shapes with nets, but I wanted them to see this again as they would not have nets to use. I highly suggest using 3D blocks that are foldable. This is a great way for students to see what composes the 3D shape.
After our review of a pyramid having 4 triangles and a square, we got to work. They began drawing the 2D shapes needed to make their 3D shapes. I had to really support them with this. Though my four year is a pretty good cuter, all the squares to make his cube did not come out the same size. I had to do a little trimming to make it work. My six year old did pretty good on his own. He needed the most help holding his shape while he taped it together. Sometimes those fine motor skills are still difficult!
It took us about 2 hours to complete our robots, now affectionately called OptimusFroge and FunBot. Surprisingly they stayed focused the whole time, and really worked hard to finish their creation.
After two hours of hard focused work, I sent them off to their bedroom to play with their robots. They needed the break and I also had interior motives. I listened to their creative play for a little bit, then called them back.
Based on their creative play and imagination, we worked together to complete a graphic organizer for a fictional story. They came up with a problem, three different ways they would try to solve it, and we ended our organizer with a solution. My reluctant writer was actually excited to start turning the organizer into a story. It will take him a few days to complete it, but I can’t wait to see the final results.
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