One of the other hats I wear other than principal, wife and mother, is as a Girl Scout Co-Leader of my daughter’s 2nd grade Brownie Troop. I enjoy the monthly opportunity to reengage in direct teaching of 21 2nd grade girls as they develop their potential. This month, we focused our evening on STEAM activities with an Easter twist that could easily be incorporated into any classroom.
Easter Egg Engineering Challenge: Using just plastic eggs and play-doh, girls were given loose direction to build the tallest structure. Girls were given various sizes of Easter Eggs. The girls evaluated different aspects of the structure while developing their plan, re-organizing their approach. The girls varied in their initial plans, but ultimately made substantial conclusions regarding successes and areas for improvement in their structures. Added challenges could for this activity could include:
- Create an arch
- Create a structure that can house a peep or chick.
- Use only halves of the eggs
- Create a pattern while building the structure
Easter Egg Stacking Challenge: Using just plastic Easter Eggs of various sizes, girls were given the simple challenge of stacking eggs to the highest level possible. The girls quickly made connections between having a strong base, mixing the various components of the eggs for optimal success, and more.
Easter Egg Nest Challenge: Using KEVA Planks, the girls were asked to build the tallest “nest” to house a large plastic Easter Egg. What started out as individual girls building their own towers in an environment of competition turned into a collaborative effort with the whole group communicating, encouraging, and supporting each other to build one massive ‘nest’ to house their egg.
Easter Chick Art: It’s interesting to me how the girls of the group divided themselves to the various stations and the ones they gravitated to naturally. It reminded me of the importance of balancing our educational approach with students to include opportunity for the arts, crafts, and creativity. There were eager girls that went straight to building and problem-solving stations and equally as many girls that chose the stations that allowed for creativity.
Projects and activities shouldn’t all be prescribed. It is meaningful to engage students in tasks to extend their thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration.