Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading Review


My family had the privilege of trying the STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching for this review to use in conjunction with our own curriculum at home. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Tied 2 Teaching is owned by a father of 4 children that his wife homeschools. He has been teaching in the classroom since he received his K-8 certification in 2002 from Texas Tech. He has taught Middle school Math and now currently is teaching upper elementary. Him and his wife create teaching quality materials for teachers of both home and classroom to make their lives easier and save the teacher time preparing/planning.

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading is a bundle of PDF downloads. This includes over 70 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) design challenges from the STEM with Close Reading series. This is a full year of activities with the idea to do one activity per week. These are categorized by month of the year and are seasonal with bonus extras that you can do as well. In addition to the STEM activities directions these also have a high interest close reading passage and writing assignments included so your student has a more rounded curriculum because it integrates ELA (English Language Arts) into the learning as well. Close reading requires students to analyze, evaluate, and think critically about a given text. The STEM activities you can do with readily available materials you have around the house or the classroom. These are great for grades 3rd-6th. This comes as a compressed zip file of multiple PDFs and is about 859 MB.

STEM Design Challenges Included:


January STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • 100th Day of School STEM Challenge – Spaghetti Tower Design Challenge
  • Marshmallow Snowman Challenge
  • Civil Rights Monument Design Challenge
  • Sled Design Challenge

February STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Valentines Day STEM Challenge – Cupid’s Bow Design
  • Groundhog Day STEM Challenge – Groundhog Burrow Design Challenge
  • Valentines STEM Challenge – Love Bug Design Challenge
  • Presidents Day STEM Challenge – Lincoln’s Cabin Challenge

March STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge – Build a Leprechaun Trap
  • Basketball Tower STEM Challenge
  • St. Patrick’s Day STEM Challenge – Build a Rainbow Bridge
  • New Hat for Cat Challenge Read Across America STEM

April STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Jelly Bean Tower Challenge
  • Easter STEM Challenge Design a Carrot Carriage
  • Earth Day STEM Challenge – Design Something Useful
  • Earth Day STEM Challenge – Upcycled Birdhouse

May STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Design a New Droid
  • Paper Airplane Design Challenge
  • Pipe Cleaner Challenge
  • Lighthouse Design Challenge

June STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Foil Boat Design Challenge
  • Giant Pyramid Challenge
  • Steamboat Design Challenge
  • Zip Line Design Activity

July STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • House of Cards Challenge
  • Doghouse Design Challenge
  • Alien Spacecraft Challenge
  • Airplane Design Challenge

August STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Building Block Tower Challenge
  • Index Card Skyscraper Challenge
  • Paper Table Challenge
  • BONUS Building Block Challenge MEGA PACK

September STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Apple Boat Challenge
  • Pencil Tower Challenge
  • Totem Pole Challenge
  • Balloon Tower Challenge

October STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Spider Web Design Challenge
  • Witch’s Parachute Halloween STEM Challenge
  • Bone Bridge Challenge
  • Sugar Cube Arch Challenge

November STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Parade Balloon Challenge
  • Thanksgiving Table Challenge
  • Cranberry Tower Challenge
  • Pilgrim Shelter Challenge

December STEM Challenge Bundle with Close Reading
  • Cardboard Reindeer Challenge
  • Funky Christmas Ornament Challenge
  • Straw Christmas Tree Challenge
  • Christmas Tree Tower

BUILDING BLOCK CHALLENGES
  • Build a Dinosaur
  • Build a Nation’s Flag
  • Design a New Bug
  • Build the Eiffel Tower
  • Design a Superhero
  • Design a Toilet Paper Dispenser
  • Design a Cactus Paperweight
  • Build a UFO
  • Build a Treasure Chest
  • Design a Totem Pole

ADDITIONAL STEM CHALLENGES
  • 100th Day of School Glasses
  • 100th Day of School Crayon Tower
  • Kingdom Hearts Valentines Castle
  • Candy Heart Tower
  • Design a Candy Box

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

My daughters who are 10 and 8 and I had fun together doing four of these projects. We picked out four that looked like the most fun and that we had the materials at home for. We did the Earth Day STEM Challenge – Upcycled Birdhouse, Foil Boat Design Challenge, Building Block Tower Challenge, and Design a New Bug Building Block Challenge. In my family we love doing STEM activities!

I really like that these STEM projects have reading and writing assignments as well. This enriches the learning experience even more and gets the students minds thinking about all the aspects of the challenge. Each STEM activity has a PDF with a QR code to scan with your code reading electronic device or link to click on to get to the reading passage. The reading assignment has comprehension questions to answer after the passage is read. The pages also had my daughters ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve upon the design they made. They were asked to research, test out their design, and make improvements on it if needed. They were also asked to show their steps and write what went well and what they could improve upon.


Zari's Birdhouse STEM Challenge.
  
Earth Day STEM Challenge – Upcycled Birdhouse
We were told to gather recyclable items up and build a bird house with them. There was a page in the PDF that had the design challenge, design criteria, material suggestions, and a little about the final project. The assignment had Zari read a passage about birds flying south during the winter then answer the comprehension questions. Then she designed and built her birdhouse using the materials we had gathered up around our home. This PDF had pictures of other people's projects for examples as well which was very helpful. Zari built her birdhouse much like the picture of the one in the PDF made out of a coffee container.

Foil Boat STEM Challenge.

Foil Boat Design Challenge
We were told to design and build a boat using only a 12" X 18" sheet of aluminum foil and see how many pennies it could hold before it sank in the water and try to build one to hold the most pennies before sinking. This one had a QR code and link as well, but we noticed that the link in the PDF didn't link to the right url for the questions so instead we had to search in the search bar for the correct webpage. Thankfully we found it using the heading on the question sheet for the design challenge reading. I am not sure if the QR code works because I do not own a device that can read those. After reading the passage about life saving boats they answered the comprehension questions. Then they designed and built their boats using the foil and proceeded to place pennies one by one on their crafts, counting them until they sunk. This PDF had pictures of other people's projects for examples as well which was very helpful. Zari's boat was rectangular and flat on the bottom it held the 210 pennies that we had without issue. Teela's boat held the 210 pennies for a moment then started taking on water. Her boat didn't have as solid of sides as Zari's.

Building Block Tower Stem Challenge

Building Block Tower Challenge
We were told to build the tallest tower out of Legos to be able to support a tennis ball. We unfortunately didn't own a tennis ball so we used an orange instead. The reading assignment was How tall is the Eiffel Tower?. The link worked great in this one and went to the correct page. After reading the passage about the Eiffel Tower they answered the comprehension questions. Then they designed and built their towers using the Legos we had and proceeded to place the orange at the top to see how well they built it. This PDF had pictures of other people's projects for examples as well which was very helpful. Teela's tower was a little taller than Zari's in this activity, but they both held the orange without toppling over.

Design a New Bug
We were told to build a new bug out of Legos. The reading assignment was Are You Scared of Bugs?. The link worked great in this one and went to the correct page. After reading the passage about bugs they answered the comprehension questions. Then they designed and built their bugs using the Legos we had. This PDF did not have pictures of other people's projects for examples.

These activities were lots of fun and some were more challenging than others. Both Teela and Zari had fun with the STEM projects. The written assignments were a little more advanced for Zari, so I told her she could write less. I highly recommend these though because they cover so many subjects in one project and my kids enjoyed them.

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Right now the Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading bundle is $30 not $60, so you save $30.

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STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}

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