Time for STEM in First Grade! I will be honest and say that tackling STEM with the smallest of kids was intimidating way back in August.
I really had no resources for that age group and eventually turned to some fabulous friends that sell STEM products at Teachers Pay Teachers. I have already shared some of those and will share more right here on this blog soon!
To start the year off I thought it was important to keep it simple and really focus on team building and working together. So, we started with Mazes! This would be a perfect place for you to try STEM with your smallest students right now!
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We have tried many versions of mazes with the big kids, but this was my first adventure with six-year-olds. I decided to try basic and easy materials that I pulled right out of my cabinets.
Colored tiles and pom-poms!
Before we got started building we tried some mazes projected on the whiteboard and, of course, they thought those were great fun! Then we talked about the pathways specifically. I knew from my big kids that this would be a tricky part. The ‘littles’ lined up those colored tiles and made many variations of paths- wide, and narrow, and super gigantic.
How do you make a pathway?
In fact, it was the super gigantic path that made us stop and talk about what a path really is. Take a look at the top photo above. The path was going great and then just dead ended so if you are trying to solve this one, it is impossible.
The second big mistake we made is also in the above photo. There were kids that thought they could stand the colored tiles on their sides to make the maze walls. Well, you can do that, but it’s time-consuming and if you bump the table (which is exactly what first graders do every 13 seconds) then they all fall.
Learning to work together…
How precious are those photos with all those little hands working together?
When it’s all built, it’s time to try it!
We started off with this challenge using straws to blow those pom-poms through the maze. That lasted for about 6 minutes. Do you know what happens when kids sit around with straws in their mouths for a little while?
Spit happens. That’s enough details for you….
So, then we switched to just pushing the pom-pom with our fingers and that worked fine. It was a great challenge and just really easy.
All you need:
- tables or the floor
- some pom-poms or cotton balls
- and plenty of colored tiles.
A bucket of tiles is a life saver with first graders! We use them for STEM all the time!