Grab your Free Guide - 3 sTEps to stem success

How to Teach Your Classroom Rules with STEM

Can we talk about Classroom Rules? Are you a brag tag user? Or do you have a clip chart? What is your method of working with behavior management? Many years ago I participated in an assertive management class. This was the popular method of classroom behavior management at that time. (Remember “pulling cards”?)

The one thing I learned was that the things you want kids to do as far as classroom procedures, must be taught and practiced – in the same way you would teach a reading skill or a math concept.


So, how does this apply to the STEM Lab? Much the same way. We learn procedures and practice them. This year I decided to do this and add a little STEM Challenge to it!

We called it The Rules Challenge!

Are you looking for a perfect STEM Challenge to teach classroom rules? Check this post for the details and a free challenge!

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that Amazon will pass on small percentages to me with your purchase of items. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!

What better way to learn the classroom (or lab) rules than a STEM challenge!!

I had each class come in and complete a “Scavenger Hunt” first. This made them explore the room and especially the board with our rules posted on it!

For each question on the scavenger hunt answered correctly the team would receive a specific material for the challenge. We used foil, cups, craft sticks, straws, and construction paper.

A free STEM Challenge to teach your classroom rules as the school year begins.

What are our rules?

A few years ago I created rules posters for our lab and made them with cute scientists and used colors that matched the decor. This year I made a new set with these funny little dot people and I loved them so much I made a set for my classroom.

The funny thing is that so many kids made dot people figures as part of their Rules Model. It became a cute joke to say that they were making “stick” people!

The funny thing is that so many kids made dot people figures as part of their Rules Model. It became a cute joke to say that they were making “stick” people!

The planning step of the Engineering Design Process- this free challenge is featured on this blog post.


Time for kids to plan their structure. Here’s the task:

  • Choose one rule from the rules displayed in our lab. 
  • Your team will create a model that shows the rule in action.
  • Everybody sketches an idea and shares it.

These two drawings were completed by fourth graders. We always talk about how important it is to label our drawings.

This challenge was one that took two class sessions which are one week apart. If you don’t label those sketches you will forget what you were thinking!

Working on the classroom rules challenge- This free resource is featured on this blog post.

Kids completed their sketches and shared their ideas with their team.

Next, the teams created a job for each team member and then they got busy. In the photo you can see a team starting to create their model.

(By the way, the planning procedure we use is purposeful. If you missed the post about how we do this, you can click >>>HERE!)

Teach the rules of your classroom with this free STEM Challenge. Check this post for step-by-step directions!

Finished Models

After all teams were ready we had a sharing time. Each group told the rule they were representing and then showed us the model. It was really fun to see how they incorporated the rule in their structure.

In the photo is the rule “Wait for instructions before touching materials.” The materials are on a shelf they built of craft sticks and the dot person is waiting to get things off the shelf.

Remember, the setup I used for this challenge was that the materials were earned based on a scavenger hunt. This team missed 4 of the 6 questions on the scavenger hunt paper and all they had were craft sticks and straws. They did pretty well with such limited items!

It's the Rules Challenge! Classroom rules taught with a STEM Project and it's free!

In this image, the team chose the rule “Always wear safety goggles when they are needed.” They made a person holding a beaker that is spraying liquid (the orange paper) into the person’s face.

He needed goggles.

The googles rules rule was a popular choice!

A free STEM Challenge about teaching the classroom rules. Check this blog post for all the details!

There were a lot of groups that opted to show the rules about cleaning up messes! In this photo you have a person throwing away trash. The second photo shows a spill, complete with liquid and ice cubes!

He also seems very excited about it, doesn’t her!

Notice that this one is built from straws and construction paper. This team also missed several questions on the scavenger hunt and received a small amount of materials.

This was such a fun challenge!

After all the projects were completed each team shared their model and taught the rest of the class their rule! What a great way to learn the lab rules and procedures!

In fact, a fifth grader said this,

“When you told us about this challenge I thought it was going to be so boring. But this was a lot of fun!”

We learned the rules in a hands-on way! This worked so well in our STEM Lab, but it will work in a regular classroom, too!

If you already subscribe to my newsletter this challenge has been emailed to you – in advance of its premiere on TpT! If you are not a subscriber, you should do that now! You will get a planning freebie and some bonuses in the next few days by signing up today.

This challenge is posted in my TpT store for FREE! Click >>>>>>>>>HERE

 You can also grab the Dot People Rules posters!

Are you ready to teach your classroom rules? This challenge is perfect! The students build a model of a rule and teach it to the class! The challenge is free!