My students need Mighty Molecules, Magz Bricks,Qubits and other manipulatives to encourage and develop STEM-focused skills and creativity.
We are preparing today's learners for careers that do not exist yet. How can I best help my students for an ever-changing world? I believe a powerful way to do this is exploring amazing manipulatives that will encourage creativity, flexibility, adaptability, cooperation and out-of-the-box thinking.
My 2nd graders are curious, insightful, and diverse little people.
They are eager to learn and grow. My school is in a suburban district outside of Buffalo, NY. On St. Patrick's Day, we did a STEM challenge where they constructed leprechaun traps. My kids were full of creative ideas. I know they are capable of more. Better and more innovative materials will help stretch their potential. With 2 sets of the manipulatives. Hexactly (focusing on geometry and visual/spatial acuity) to allow them to build horizontally and vertically, 2 sets of Squigz (fine motor, hand strength and engineering skills), 1 set of Brain Flakes (spatial reasoning and engineering), 1 set of Mighty Molecules (spatial, hand-eye), 1 set of Cup Up (geometric design and construction), 1 set of Magz Bricks (engineering and magnetism) and 1 set of Qubits (architecture and engineering), my students will benefit from creative toys which build STEM skills. Learning is natural with toys like these.
On a recent trip with my family to the Strong National Museum of Play, I noticed tables in a large open area filled with big tubs of unique manipulatives. There was no support staff in the area, yet it was constantly full of families sitting together and building. Every adult and child sat mesmerized and creatively used these manipulatives. No directions were given. They just built.
With these specific STEM-focused manipulatives, my students will be able to learn through play and investigation. I've been researching alternatives to "Morning Work" where kids do a worksheet or some other job upon entering the classroom each day. While these sponge activities set up the thinking for the day, they certainly aren't fun.
My students will come into the classroom every morning and be able to choose a bin of manipulatives with which to play, during the 15 minutes before announcements. With this wide variety of choice, my students will be engaged in FUN, hands-on, play-based learning.
This will help my kids from the moment they enter my classroom door.
Think of it this way, every single child entering my room will know they have a few minutes to decompress, play, socialize, build and create. Who wouldn't want that? The manipulatives I've selected are some of the same ones available at the Strong Museum. They've been proven to captivate visitors to the museum and with your help my students will have that same experience. We will also use them for STEM-challenge activities.
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