Jami from HandMadeKidsArt posted a 5 Day Spring STEAM Challenge. One mentioned The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, since I love that book (and all things Dr. Seuss), and we have been talking about solving problems it seemed like the perfect fit.
We read the book and then discussed how the Lorax had a problem and how important natural resources are. I asked what could we do to help bring the Lorax and his friends back? We thought if we could create a new species of tree it might bring back the Lorax, his friends, and maybe even new types of Suess characters would visit.
We started, as we always do with our design challenges, sketching our ideas. I am very impressed each time the kids do this. They are all so creative in many different ways. Each artist labels and explains their thoughts so explicitly. Anyone could pick up their sketch and know exactly what they were thinking when they drew it.
After we got our initial ideas on paper (or notability), I dumped materials on the floor. Just like the Legos from the other day. They went to it. The only constraint we had was it had to stand on its own. Because a tree needs roots to stay in place. We learned that in 3rd grade. 🙂
We dug in and started putting our designs into action. I always find myself telling the kids that don’t worry about changes that come about in the building process. Their model may not look like their sketch, but almost every time they build true to their design. Funny.
I know you will find this hard to believe but you could hear a pin drop while they worked. I never insist on silence in the classroom, because lets be honest I can’t stay silent, so how can I ask them to. But when they are in building mode they are so focused. I walk around, taking pictures, asking questions and they just build, build, build.
Next step…write. Name your tree, what type of Suess character would it attract? How would it help bring back the Lorax and his friends? What other important details should we know about your tree? Then we take a tour of all the new species…
Finally, we have our exit ticket. Of course the first question was an easy one. 1.)What did you like best about this challenge? 2.) What makes this a STEAM challenge? 3.) How can we apply this to real world problems?
I honestly thought the last one would give them trouble. But they thought like true scientists and talked about how we can help by not abusing our natural resources. But, realistically natural resources are not cared for, so we need to be ready to create new species of plants and trees to replenish what is taken away. They also loved the idea that they got to create like Dr. Suess. I really liked that part too.