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How to Teach Your Classroom Rules with STEM

Can we talk about classroom rules? I have the perfect solution to create an engaging way to teach your rules!

Years ago in a professional development class, I learned that classroom procedures must be taught and practiced – in the same way you would teach a reading skill or a math concept.

But, how do we get students to pay attention to learning those procedures?

And, how does this apply to the STEM Lab? Much the same way. We learn procedures and practice them. But, what would happen if we made it a STEM Challenge?

We call it The Rules Challenge!

STEM Challenge- students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Resource includes detailed teacher’s guide, photos, and editable forms.

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?

As classes came into the lab we 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 received a specific material for the challenge. We used foil, cups, craft sticks, straws, and construction paper.

What are our Rules?

STEM Challenge perfect for the beginning of the school year. Students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Great for going back to school every year.

I have tried several versions of rules posters for our lab. I have sets with cute student scientists and engineers and then I created the Dot People version.

This new set features funny little dot people and we love them so much.

Here’s the best part! During this challenge, many teams made little dot people figures as part of their Rules Model. It became a cute joke to say that they were making “stick” people!

Planning our Designs

STEM Challenge perfect for the beginning of the school year. Students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Great for going back to school every year.

After the Scavenger hunt, students had their materials and it was time 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!

Let’s Create Jobs for the Building Time!

STEM Challenge perfect for the beginning of the school year. Students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Great for going back to school every year.

Students 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 photos, you can see teams starting to create their models.

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

Finished Models

STEM Challenge- students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Resource includes detailed teacher’s guide, photos, and editable forms.

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 into 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!

STEM Challenge perfect for the beginning of the school year. Students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Great for going back to school every year.

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 wearing of goggles rules was a popular choice!

STEM Challenge- students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Resource includes detailed teacher’s guide, photos, and editable forms. STEM Challenge- students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Resource includes detailed teacher’s guide, photos, and editable forms.

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.

He also seems very excited about it, doesn’t he?

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.

And, finally, because I know you will need this…

Prefect resource for the busy first month of school! This puzzle set was designed for upper elementary students and includes color-by-number, word searches, mazes, and secret codes!

What happens if a STEM team finishes early- maybe way ahead of other teams? How do you keep them busy?

This puzzle set is a must-have at the beginning of the school year! It is amazing-

  • 3 Color-by-number sheets featuring math problems
  • 2 word searches featuring school vocabulary
  • A secret code message to decipher
  • A math maze with a riddle to solve

These engaging puzzles are an answer for STEM class, sub days, center time, or emergencies!

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!

Click on any image to see the resource!

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STEM Challenge perfect for the beginning of the school year. Students use materials to design a model of a classroom rule. Works perfectly for regular classrooms or STEM labs. Great for going back to school every year.

My Favorite STEM Materials!

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