posted by: Melissa
| March 22, 2017, 02:05 PM
If we want to prepare students for the 21st century, we need to get them interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics), and while good lesson planning will play a part in giving them the knowledge that they need and igniting interest, perhaps more important is what students do in their own time. Play gives students a chance to explore and create without the limits of a formal lesson, and more closely mimics the type of experimenting done by scientists and engineers. To encourage STEM play, teachers should consider having these toys in their classroom.
Coggy is a brain teaser which challenges students to position colorful gears into patterns that match the challenge cards that come with the game. Each challenge increases with difficulty, keeping students engaged as they move through the cards and encouraging them to come up with their own patterns.
Perplexus is a 3D maze that combines problem solving, attention to detail, and fine motor skills as students work to move the ball from the start of the maze to the end.
- Box & Balls
It may look simplistic, but this game will capture the attention of any student who has experience playing with Angry Birds. Students arrange the boxes into different patterns while they take turns attempting to get their ball into one of them. Challenge cards help students think through the different ways they can arrange boxes, making it a perfect game for future engineers or physicists!
- Ivan’s Hinge
Remember tangrams? Ivan’s Hinge is similar to that. It is a series of triangle, which come with a stack of picture cards that students need to try and create. Ivan’s Hinge, though, has upped the difficulty by connecting all the pieces together, meaning that students need to think in terms of folding and bending in order to create the shapes.
- Snap Circuits
Snap Circuits is the gold-standard in electronics kits. A wide variety of lights, switches, circuits, sirens, and other implements allow students to experiment with what they can build and how electronics work. Pieces snap easily into place and then out again, which makes keeping everything together simple.
What STEM toys do you have in your classroom?