Back from vacation and going through emails, I came upon this story from eSchool News about how to intetgrate STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) disciplines into early education.
''Run, run as fast you can! Can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread man!''
Those words swirled around the room as my daughter's kindergarten teacher announced the start of gingerbread trap building. Students were allowed to choose working alone or as part of a team, and they could choose members of their team (or teams as some children migrated, joyfully sharing their ideas.) For these young students, allowing them to choose team or individual work was essential for their enjoyment and the ultimate success of the project.
Excitement was high as kindergartners brainstormed, innovated, and built traps to catch their wayward gingerbread cookies. Their vivid imaginations were given free reign to use any materials they found in the room–blocks, Legos, paper, connecting sticks, boxes, etc.
In the end, there were about 10 traps total–each very different from the next, yet all as effective. When the kindergartners returned from story time, they were delighted to see their gingerbread caught in the traps they built (with a little extra help from me and another teacher). Success and joy–the traps worked just as they imagined and designed!
Their first project as gingerbread trap engineers left them with bellies full of tasty gingerbread cookies.