I am trying a challenge for the first time. Yes, have been doing some activities but not as a challenge. I made up my mind to choose one as per my elder daughter Pritika’s interest. She is 5+ years old and did not want to disappoint her by choosing any difficult task. For that matter, I wanted to make sure she will succeed in the challenge and stay motivated.
Brainstormed for a while and also checked Jamie’s abacus page which contains kids handmade crafts. From there I was enthused to select the construction of a 3D arrangement. Then I called my girl and asked her to select the one she loves to do. Off course I guided to finally decide on one structure. It required only pipe cleaners, straws, and scissors. All were available at home and did not let go time we started quickly.
But then took some time to explain Pritika about STEM. She was curious about it.
My explanation for her and you all too. STEM is nothing but a way of teaching Science and Technology and Engineering and Math to kids with practical demonstrations. Recently we started focusing on this new model because all the subjects mentioned above are a must to shape the career of children. So we decided to segregate experiments age wise and explain about them in a fun way. The curious kids can learn by doing it and all their questions will be answered. All theory explained with practical demos. Also, these are not big experiments but the small one which kids can do themselves with the things available at home.
Keeping the foundation of STEM strong we simplify the science concepts and have made them as small experiments which kids can do on their own with minimal support. The catapult experiments and the balance scales include science concepts and engineering concepts. Likewise, each experiment will contain more than one pillar of the STEM and help students to understand easily.
Pritika was so excited to hear my explanation. She felt proud to do these activities and was glad to think like a scientist. She said she will learn alphabets S, T, E, and M after which will focus on other alphabets too. Yes, that is humorous but I saw loads of happiness in her eyes
She asked me about this experiment and I told her what is required. She also wanted to use her sticky tape. I promised her that in the next experiment we will use one. She agreed and we marched forward.
Get ready for the challenge – FOR STEM Girls: construct your own 3D structure
At the surface level, it looks simple and not much challenging. But trust me for Pritika at her age she really requires this challenge. I could tell her about 3D – three dimensions. How does it differ from 2D? I asked her to draw images and differentiated 2D and 3D by showing more pictures. Initially, she found it hard to understand and was a bit baffled and hence we continued to talk more with examples. I told her what is a square shape and cube. I showed her a toothpaste box to explain about cuboid and rectangle as its top or front view. We spoke about circle and sphere. Finally, she got a strong grip on 3D’s.
Later we discussed making a shape with straw and threads (you can use pipe cleaners as well). Which one is easy to make and why? Where to begin and how to make one?
I told her about the use of scissors and she slowly tried cutting pipe-cleaners (or threads) and straws. I helped her and we wasted some straws by cutting them into pieces. She had fun. Then we got into an actual business and made half and quarter pieces.
(You can even try with paper straw which is strong, and better than the plastic straws. Purchase them from here (affiliate link). Yes, we need to save the environment and hence go with a paper straw. We tried both plastic as well as paper straw.
Initially, Pritika decided to construct a cylinder. I was skeptical but did not disappoint her. Then she herself said let’s make a triangle. I was not reacting to this decision too. She asked me which one to choose. I told that she needs to decide because it is a challenge for her.
I only told her to try on her own. Not to get disappointed with the results. She must keep on trying till she gets it. She agreed and told that she will try until she succeeds.
She started with a triangle in 2D and that was easy for her to fix. She worked out and twisted the ends and made them together. Fixing was a bit tough initially but later on, it worked fine. She tried all ways like making a twist and a thread and finally found her way out. This helped to develop her motor skills.
But the real challenge started when she wanted to do the 3D version. She fumbled to make them stand as straws were not strong. She thought about it and tried various way to make it stand. She indeed succeeded at the end.
All that she made was a pyramid, triangular in shape and with equal sides. Also, it looked like a hat resting on the head. One corner facing forward and was sharp as a beak. She was teasing her sister with that for some time. Pecking!
After she finished I explained few geometry concepts and she was able to relate and grasp better now. I referred to the Geomag rods and explained about the triangular and square-shaped pyramid. Also, about prisms and triangular shape. I further incorporated 3D to the lessons.
Now, she understood that her structure was not exactly a pyramid triangular in shape. She decided because one side was doubled. Therefore I told her to let us name it Pritika pyramid. She felt excited and the fun part was on. But, I finally appreciated her for the effort and she is qualified for the 3D challenge.
We shall post more for you and you will have the choice to select and make your kid take the challenge.
In our next we want to bring out Coding for Kids! A special new topic for the coding genius in your kid. Watch out for it.