Landforms STEM: Ideal Island

We have been talking second grade science!  Specifically, we’ll chat about the Next Gen standards on landforms and how to implement hands on activities, science labs, and STEM challenges while learning about Earth’s surface.  You can catch up on all of the blog posts here:

I love when creativity and science meet and become friends!  And that’s why I love this STEM project so much!

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Before we get started talking about this challenge, can we just all agree to play “Islands in the Stream” while our students build their perfect island.  Yes? Good.  I knew we were good friends! #thesongthatneverends

For my STEM projects and challenges in my Next Gen units, I like to use my “Invent Me” anchor chart to help primary kids understand the steps to solving a problem.  I first started using this with my first graders and it made inventions and problem/solution projects SOOOO much easier!

What’s the Problem?

First, I pull up our problem slide and read the problem scenario to the kids.  We discuss what our ideal island is and why.  And we use our new vocabulary to talk about what landforms and bodies of water it will have.

Plan the Idea

The rest of the first day is spent planning their ideal island.  We pull up their questions on the Plan slide and talk about what materials they might use to build the island.

Then, they work with a partner to draw and illustrate their island.  They will draw a map of the island from a bird’s eye view. and use the checklist to make sure they have the landforms and water bodies they need.

Build the Island

On the second day, partners will work to build their island on a paper plate.  They can use play-doh for this or you can use this homemade salt dough recipe.

Once the island forms are built, it’s time to label the landforms.  Use toothpicks and post-it flags to label.  Write on the labels first before wrapping around the toothpicks.

Then, leave the islands to dry overnight.

Share and Publish the Island

On the third day, students can paint the island (no need to do this if you use play-doh) and then share.  If you build the island first thing in the morning on day two, you might be able to quickly paint at the end of the day to organize your time better.

For share time, the partners will pair up with another set of partners to compare their islands.  They will listen to each other talk about their island.  They will observe and tell whats the same and what’s different.  They will work together to fill out the Venn Diagram to compare and contrast their ideal islands.

Publish the island models with the planning sheets!

This STEM project and much more can be found separately here and in this Next Gen Landforms unit!


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