Monday, March 30, 2020


I'm posting a lot of STEAM ideas in the Related Arts Google Classroom. There isn't any expectation that the kids do any or all of these assignments. I'm just trying to keep their STEAM brains active, and I know some kids thrive with hands-on activities like these! If you have the time and materials, I'd love to see what they create!

If you are having a difficult time accessing the Related Arts Google Classroom, please email me at and I will help you!

Tell your kids we miss them!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Bridge Building For Billy Goats!

Our last week of Fairy Tale designing with K-2 was solving a problem for our friends, the Billy Goats Gruff. First we watched this interactive storybook from Youtube.

They then were introduced to a new STEAM purchase for this unit, Keva planks, which were a huge hit! They diligently collaborated to create a stronger, longer, taller bridge for the Billy Goats Gruff (aka My Little Ponies) so they no longer have to worry about that nasty ogre!

The first week they just explored.

The next challenges were to create the longest bridge with the fewest planks, and then to build the tallest, strongest bridge that could hold the most planks at 3", 4" or 6" tall! 

The biggest problem for these kids was not coming up with amazing ideas, but how to communicate them effectively and productively to their teammates, as well as how to listen and disagree respectfully. We were working on all kinds of skills in STEAM with this unit!

In the end, so many groups worked hard together and were successful. I was so proud of our engineers and loved their excitement!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Co-Creating Norms

It's that time of year again! The students' very favorite STEAM unit of the year: Deconstructing electronics! For the past few years, students have been taking apart broken electronics to figure out how they work, as well as to consider how much work and effort goes into making these household items we take for granted. This year, not only are students going to take the "guts" out of these electronics to make individual pieces of art, but we are hoping to make a STEAM mural that will star in Library for years to come!

First we watched this video for inspiration!

Before we can begin handing out hammers, screwdrivers and hot glue guns, Ms. Kniffin and I thought it best that we co-create norms about student behavior. The kids were very motivated to have a voice in the process of how we can not only collaborate successfully and safely, but also how to communicate decisions about the mural (which is to be co-created by three different grade levels) from class to class. They worked in small groups to determine their top five norms, then shared out the three they decided were most important.

After three class discussions, here are the final norms that we can all agree on to be successful and safe as we move forward in our deconstruction! Student voice helps create more buy in, and when I remind kids that we all created and agreed on these norms if there are any disagreements, I know the fact that they had a part in the decision-making will help settle any problems. 

Looking forward to bringing the Art to STEAM!