Earlier in the school year our district's science coordinator brought several A World in Motion (AWIM) kits to my office so I could distribute them to classrooms in my building. As a former science teacher and lover of inquiry and student exploration, I was excited to bring these STEM opportunities to our students. I have already helped our 3rd grade teacher incorporate STEM into her science instruction, and they recently wrapped up another STEM unit using the AWIM Pinball Kit. Our Kindergarten teacher had approached me earlier this year wanting to add STEM lessons into her science and center time, and as soon as I saw the AWIM Rolling Things kit I knew it was a perfect fit!
When we started the unit, we told the kindergarteners they would get to be scientists and every one of them began cheering! In the Rolling Things unit, students explore how a vehicle's weight and ramp height affects the distance the vehicle and/or crash box travels. Currently, we are about half way through the Rolling Things explorations, and I am loving seeing the kindergarteners work together, share their thinking, and experience STEM and inquiry learning! I am in the classroom every afternoon either co-teaching whole group lessons, or facilitating explorations. The students have discovered that the higher the ramp, the further the vehicle will travel. They have also made connections that the weights of the vehicles (convertible, truck, and sedan) makes a difference in how far the crash box moves after impact. Beyond the science lessons, the kindergarteners are working on communication skills, being able to productively work with a partner, recording results, measuring, and being responsible for self directed tasks/learning.
I look forward to seeing how the remaining two weeks of the Kindergarten STEM unit goes! I will continue tweeting daily, and blogging about the experience as I can.