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I have some fabulous ideas to share about keeping the attention of your elementary kids! It’s all sports related!
- Try an Escape Room
- Grab a Free STEM Challenge
- Try a Sports STEM Challenge
- Add a Sports Book!
Sports Escape Room
Are You Ready for Some Foosball?
The Sports Escape Room resource suggests that you can continue the sports theme with a STEM Challenge. I just happen to have a free one that you can grab in my store.
More STEM Challenges
We also enjoy the basketball challenge. In this task, students have to build the backboard which includes the goal and its net. Then they have to build a catapult that will toss the basketball through the net!
Sports Books I LOVE!
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
My all-time favorite read-aloud chapter book for kids. I read this to my third graders every single year. And I cried in parts of it- every single year. If you have not read this book- go grab it right now!
This is the story of a young boy nicknamed Crash. When he is about 6 years old he meets a new neighbor, named Penn Webb. Crash, characteristically, makes fun of Penn every chance he gets, especially when he discovers Penn’s parents are older, he lives in a very small house and has one toy. Penn is also a Quaker. Which means he doesn’t play rough, fight, name call, talk back, etc. This is quite foreign to Crash.
Flash forward a few years and the boys are now in middle school. Crash has a new friend, named Mike, and the two set about to totally demean and bully Penn whenever they can. Like pouring mustard in his shoes or tearing up Penn’s homework.
I will tell you that the reactions of my third graders whenever we read those parts about the bullying were always amazing to see. It made them really understand bullying in a different way. They loved Penn and did not like the way he was treated.
The story then moves into the Penn relay races. The setting for this story is Pennsylvania and the school system takes part in a relay team event every year. The kids have to try out to make the team. Crash, of course, is an athlete and plans to try out. So does Penn. Think about it- his name is Penn. It turns out that his great-grandfather once ran the same relays and Penn wants to run and be part of the winning team.
The final tryout comes down to a race off between Crash and Penn. Who will win? I am not telling you, but I will say that this is one of the points in this book that always made me cry. What happens is an astounding moment and one I whispered as I read it to my students.
It’s a fabulous book that all kids love. Boys love because it’s about football. But it’s more than that. It’s also about a family and the things that go on as kids grow up. It is a great story to teach about bullying and friendship and how to treat people. And it works perfectly while you are completing some sports activities!
Teammates by Peter Golenbock
The book begins with a history the Negro Baseball league and how those teams played only other teams in the same league. The differences between their league and professional baseball are noted as well. Then the manager for the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, decides to find a perfect baseball player that will integrate the pro league. He chooses Jackie Robinson.
Jackie handles his mistreatment with an astounding grace and just keeps playing great baseball. Then one day a crowd at the Cincinnati field is being particularly cruel with booing and taunts at Jackie. The Dodgers shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, has finally had enough. He walks to Jackie and puts an arm around him- a sure signal to the fans that Jackie is his teammate. Pee Wee let the crowd know, “I am standing by him. He is my teammate.”
This is a beautiful book with such a strong message of friendship and hope. It’s also perfect for encouraging teamwork in a STEM class!
There you have it STEM friends- sporting events in the classroom will keep your students engaged and completing tasks without realizing they are still doing some school work!