Cross-curriculum work is an area that often receives a big push in school districts. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and it is essential to integrate it into your units or lesson plans. I like to do what I call “STEMS,” with the last S standing for “shared reading.” Because I’m a literacy teacher, reading is always an integral part of my instruction.
When creating a STEMS-based unit, I like to start with the shared reading element. I usually select a science book that lends itself to being a good read aloud.
I incorporate the technology piece by having my students do further research on the topic of the book, using their digital device.
I bring in engineering by allowing them to create a project based on the science topic being studied (depending on the project, my students follow the engineering process: design, build, test, and evaluate). Math is woven into the unit by providing my students with problem-solvers about the topic.
READ: Read aloud Miss Mingo Weathers the Storm by Jamie Harper to your class. Here's a synopsis:
It’s field-trip day for Miss Mingo’s multispecies class—but will each animal find a way to weather the weather on the path up to the observatory? It’s a spring morning, and Miss Mingo and her class are ready to hike up High Hill to visit the weather station.
Groundhog, the new student, predicts that the weather will be perfect. But as the animals climb, the temperature does, too, and Panda seeks a shady spot, while Hippo starts sweating red—it’s normal, not blood! And that’s just the beginning!
From hail and swirling winds to pouring rain and a sudden chill, everyone from Ant to Alligator is learning about some crazy atmospheric changes. Sprinkled with fascinating facts about weather and animal habits, this charming, one-of-a-kind class trip is sure to bring sunny smiles.
SCIENCE: Have the students record the information they learn about animals and the weather while reading.
TECHNOLOGY: Tell the students to select points of interest from the book to research further, using a digital device.
ENGINEERING: In small groups, have students design an apparatus that would help one of Miss Mingo's animal students weather the storm. Encourage them to be creative. Once groups have finished designing their apparatus, have students present what they created.
MATH: Together, look at the different temperatures of a mountain such as Mount Everest. You can calculate the difference in temperatures from the base and midpoint to the peak, or you can find the mode, median, and range for the temperatures at the summit.
Students will adore reading Miss Mingo Weathers the Storm by Jamie Harper and enjoy completing the elementary STEM activities outlined.