Recently, Storytime STEM Collaborative Teacher Amanda Loughner piloted our newest Storytime STEM-pack The Snail and the Whale with her first-grade classroom. This Storytime STEM-pack focuses on the STEM concepts of engineering design and sound. Children engage in activities that explore how vibrating matter can make sound, and how sound can travel through an object. After reading the book The Snail and the Whale, they then apply this learning to engage in an engineering design task. Working in teams, they design a communication device to help solve a problem on a speedboat out at sea.
Here is what Mrs. Loughner said:
We completed Snail and the Whale today. It was a huge hit! The kids loved it! I really enjoyed how the students were talking like experts by the completion of the activity. When I asked them what they learned, they were saying things like, “sound travels in waves and vibrates.” Or, “it goes from the source to the receiver by vibrating.” In our district, we teach sound formally in 3rd grade. The 3rd grade science teacher was amazed at how the first graders were talking about what they learned! I think it provided a great foundation for when they learn about sound in more detail in 3rd grade.
The kiddos were definitely captivated by the book, and I liked it because we preach the importance of teamwork in the STEAM room all the time!
I did find a few videos that I used with the activity. One, I found and used after they completed their communication devices. Some of the kiddos weren't keeping the string tight when they were testing their devices. The video helped to demonstrate why they needed to keep the string tight in order for the vibrations to travel the best. It was a spur of the moment learning opportunity!
All in all, I think it's another awesome pack! The kids really loved it, and I will definitely use it again next year.
Amanda Loughner is a STEAM teacher (Kindergarten – 5th Grade) at Derry Area School District in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She has been a Collaborative Teacher with Storytime STEM-packs since 2017 and has participated in several grant-funded projects, piloted Storytime STEM-packs and represented Storytime STEM-packs at the 2022 NSF funded STEM FOR ALL VIDEO SHOWCASE.