Small People

Small People

Friday, March 22, 2019

Tied 2 Teaching Review

Brittany absolutely loves math and science. Last year her favorite class at our homeschool co-op was her STEM class. Needless to say, we were thrilled when we were given the opportunity to review STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching.

For this review, we received a Google Drive file containing over 60 STEM challenges as downloadable PDF files. I appreciated being able to save them to my Google Drive since that allowed me to be able to access them from my phone as well as my computer. I'm terrible about making a written shopping list and I always seem to forget something from the list in my head when I'm at the store, so this lets me pull up the file for whichever challenge we are doing that week while I'm at the store and then I don't forget any necessary supplies.

Because Britt really pours herself into each STEM challenge, they can sometimes be very time-consuming for her, taking her anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how in-depth she decides to work. We decided that we would set aside one day each week to work on a STEM challenge, so we have over a year's worth of activities just in this resource!

Within this bundle of challenges, Tied 2 Teaching provides 12 products - one set of STEM challenges for each month. There are themed challenges for each month. For example, Valentine's Day and Groundhog's Day for February, basketball and Read Across America for March, apples and pencils for September, and parade balloons and pilgrims for November are just a few of the many challenges we received.

As I mentioned earlier, each STEM challenge is within its own downloadable PDF file. Included in this file are pages describing the challenge - both black and white and color options which are great if you have to maintain a portfolio of work for your homeschool student like my state requires. I can print this off and put it in the portfolio along with the pictures for the projects. There are also close reading assignments to accompany the STEM challenge as well as a worksheet with questions about the reading. The reading assignments come from Wonderopolis along with instructions for 3 different ways to access the reading passage - a link directly to the passage, a link to Wonderopolis and instructions to search for the name of the passage, and a QR code to scan that takes you right to the passage. We decided to download a QR scanner app onto my Kindle so that Britt just scans the QR code on the questions page and is taken directly to the passage. She reads it on the Kindle and then answers the questions on the worksheet that I print for her.

There are also several different organizer pages to choose from for Britt to organize her plan for how to attack the challenge. These pages have sections for her to ask herself (and answer) what she already knows about that challenge or the materials for it, to imagine what she will do, to plan out what she will do by drawing a sketch of her desired outcome, to create - explain how she designed her challenge, and to improve - explain what she could change to make it better. 
Here are the challenges that Britt has completed so far:
1) Pipe Cleaner Structure - She had to design a structure using pipe cleaners that would support a cup of at least 30 pennies a minimum of 4 inches off the table for 15 seconds or more. We chose this one first since we already own about a bazillion pipe cleaners.
2) Jelly Bean Tower - She could only use 100 jelly beans and 100 tooth picks to create the tallest tower she could. One thing we found was that we bought the wrong kind of jelly beans. We bought Starburst brand jelly beans and they have a harder outer covering than generic jelly beans so it was difficult to put the tooth picks into them without the tooth picks either snapping or bending. 

3) Leprechaun Trap - She could use any materials we had around the house to design a trap to catch a leprechaun. Obviously we did this one for St. Patrick's Day. I think this was by far her favorite challenge so far because it really allowed her to use her creativity. 

4) Marshmallow Snowman - Even though we were having 70 degree weather last week, I think she chose this one just so she would be able to eat a lot of marshmallows. We bought 3 different sizes of marshmallows, and she used coffee stirrers to hold them together. The flat s'more marshmallows made a pretty good base for her. 

5) Index Card Skyscraper - Using only index cards, she had to build the tallest structure she could. She could cut or fold the cards but couldn't add anything else to the structure besides index cards. For some reason, this challenge was extremely frustrating for her. 

Brittany's Thoughts:
These were fun and challenging. If you want to put detail into your projects, they will take longer. My favorite was the Jelly Bean Tower because it was fun to build it and make a design figuring out what would work the best. I also liked getting to eat the jelly beans afterward.

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Are you interested in what other reviewers have to say about Tied 2 Teaching? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

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

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