Facilitating the STEM subjects is just as fun as learning them! Avalon’s “high F.I.V.E.S” structure for STEM lessons are: Fun–activities are often through games or inspiring activities. Interactive–children physically and mentally interact with the material or activity. Varied–monthly themes give changing context for building a foundation of STEM understanding. Engaging–children engage with each other, the teacher, or with their environment while completing the activities. Simplified–each lesson is design for simplicity of steps and work so that the child can focus their learning on the concept without being overwhelmed or frustrated.
Here are some example of how STEM learning is presented:
January’s “Friendship Adventures”: we count the buttons found on a scavenger hunt after reading the story Frog and Toad, The Lost Button.
In February we are using tools for nature and science observation, so children may measure distance in steps to find a geocache or compare the three length sizes of footprints (dinosaur, mom or dads, and theirs).
March’s “World Cultures”: we bake breads from around the world, observing changing viscosity as solids and liquids mix and using measurement for ingredients.
April’s “Life on the Farm”: we compare the size of different eggs and observe our caterpillars growing into butterflies.
May’s “STEM fair”: we work on personal and group science fair projects (e.g. growing sugar crystals, making sensory bottles).
June’s “Visual and Performing Arts”: songs for counting, such as The Ants Go Marching, Alice the Camel, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, Zoom Zoom Zoom-Going to the Moon, and others, are practiced.
July’s “Summer Splash Camp”: children work with water–observing and experimenting with its attributes as they mix it with ice or sand, watch water beads expand, use tools like funnels and sieves, and use play to learn.
August’s “All About Me”: we make and use a variety of shapes to create self-portraits out of textile materials.
September’s “Community Jobs”: we learn about health as we role-play as doctors and vets, use play money for transactions at our pop-up play stores, use lists and tally marks for our play grocery shopping, and build forms with blocks, MagnaTiles, LEGOs, and giant cardboard bricks.
October’s “Harvest Garden and Animals”, science is hands-on in the autumn garden harvesting and planting! A favorite is exploring our cave (created in a hallway) with flashlights, spotting the arts and crafts mice, bats, and insects we have made. Insect art also is math as we count legs and eyes after making spiders from fuzzy pipe cleaners on a painted paper plate and glued googly eyes.
November’s “All About Trees” focuses on the science of weather, seasons, and biomes in the context of trees–we may walk down the street to observe trees, do leaf rubbings with crayon, examine leaf shapes, and work with puzzles to match trees to their season. We also see how many things we can make from apples!
December’s “Our Solar System”: We design and make our own little space station for experiments and exploration of space. Samples of experiments may be examining moon dust (corn starch and water mixture) and working with magnets–testing the magnetic effect of a real meteorite.