Back in October, I substituted at a school library that has STEM Fridays. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math (education). The first graders and the third graders were doing a project on rockets. They researched rockets in the library, and had worksheets to fill out using the provided books. It was a collaboration between the librarian, the science teacher and the technology teacher. The science teacher was with me in the library. I read them stories about astronauts–both stories rhymed. It was difficult to find books right for each grade on their topic, so I think I had them share in their groups and switch books when the one I originally gave them was too hard to read.
The science teacher told them about plagiarism, which was very confusing for first and third graders, it seemed. (She focused on paraphrasing–difficult to do for a worksheet containing “Lift is _________________” where you write the definition.) That did remind me to tell them about citing sources, which I demonstrated on the whiteboard. This experience made me think of the Big6. (The school uses another research structure for students to use. As a sub the structure wasn’t that clear to me then, though the teachers helpfully explained most of it.)
I helped with the experiment part of the day–blowing up balloons for the rockets. It was really fun to watch the launch in the science classroom later! I hope I get to come back for another STEM Friday and see what other science and tech topics the students research.
Here is a video that shows you how to make your own balloon rocket: