Warning: The content I am about to deliver can cause side effects of serious thinking skills. Viewer discretion is advised!
Hidden in plain sight is an enemy so sneaky and brain zapping that it will leave your children sucking their elbows on the couch while watching 80’s sitcom reruns. This plague on humanity attacks the thinking abilities of our children and needs to be eradicated AT ALL COSTS!
It can be found lurking in plain sight on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook and Google, waiting to infest the most vulnerable of our population. You have probably guessed of what I speak: Craftivities disguised as STEAM! Oh, the Horror!!!
Is it STEAM?
As a reformed wildlife biologist turned educator, I have seen first hand the slow takeover of STEAM with crafting. To be fair, I LOVE to craft and create and see a real need and value in crafting in children despite my alarming introduction.
But crafting has replaced things such as science, math, STEM, and STEAM. Well meaning people come up with fun activities aimed to teach their children skills, without the knowledge of what STEAM actually is.
Let’s look at an example:
The SLIME!! It’s everywhere. My local store is even carrying jugs of glue now just for people to make slime. And why not? It’s so ooey gooey and drives parents crazy. Just what all kids want!
But is it STEAM? Not usually. Yeah there is some really sweet science going down at a chemical level but are we talking about that? Nope. Are we asking insightful questions and experimenting? Nada.
What we are doing is following a basic recipe for slime and letting kids play with it. Craft alert!
But REAL STEAM is hard!
So why are these craftivities so popular? Because they are fun for the kids and EASY!
Parents have these misconceptions about STEAM that draws them to easy, ready to go projects.
STEAM is hard.
I don’t know where to start teaching STEAM.
STEAM requires expensive electronic/science equipment that I don’t have/can’t pay for.
But STEAM doesn’t have to be any of these things. It can easy for parents AND thought provoking AND done with the stuff you already have at home. So how do I get that to you? How do we get out of the craftivity zone and still be easy for you?
Super STEAM Dice
Well, I donned my red cape and mask and set out to save our children and created the Super STEAM dice!
“Are you serious? I have to make a boat out of toilet paper tubes that drives on wheels?”
Introducing the Super STEAM Dice! They create hours of fun STEAM activities such as a car made out of balloons that bounces, an airplane made out of crafts sticks that holds 20 pennies, or even a catapult made out of lids that flies!
All you need to do is to print out the dice (cardstock is best) cut them out and glue them together and off you go. There are 3 types of dice:
1 – Build:
This is the thing you make. This dice has objects such as car, catapult, airplane, tower, or bridge.
2 – Using:
This is the materials you use. You can use other things as well, but it should play an important role in your design. Examples are TP tubes, lids, balloons, or cardboard.
3 – That can:
The final type of dice tells you what your object should do such as float, fly, drive on wheels, bounce, etc.
Put them together for your project
After rolling one die of each type you will get something like:
Build an airplane using pencils that can float
Build a bridge using TP tubes that bounces
The possibilities are endless! Ok maybe not. It is ACTUALLY 216 possibilities but we will be adding additional dice soon so keep a look out for more awesomeness.
*Psst… you can add a little math here for the older kids by letting them figure our the number of possibilities themselves with permutation calculations. Sneaky, sneaky!
Better than craftivities
Why are these dice better than craftivities? STEAM THINKING!! Surprise right?
These crafty projects follow a recipe and have a set outcome. Glittery slime. Catapults that all look the same with their 10 craft sticks and 5 rubberbands.
But the Super STEAM Dice create a general challenge with open ended results. They promotes problem-solving and questioning.
Let’s look at our Build an airplane using pencils that can float example. These are some of the questions the kids might ask:
- If it floats, I would call that a boat. So what do I have to add to make it still an airplane?
- What makes something float? (<- science)
- Will pencils float by themselves or do I need to add something else to make it float? (<- engineering)
- How am I going to attach this all together?
- What do I want it to look like? (<- art/creativity)
See how that works? And if you had 5 different kids doing this same challenge, you would get 5 completely different designs.
Plus if you already have a DIY Makerspace ready at home, you’ll have all the materials gathered.
So what are you waiting for? Print out those dice get those brains moving.
Super STEAM Dice to the Rescue!
Are you ready for these babies? There’s a whole lotta challenges contained in this little package so create something great!
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