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A Fun STEM Challenge for Kids Involving a Paper Plate and a Marble

When coming up with creative and fun STEM challenges for kids, you don’t have to look further than your closet at school for materials. All that is needed to create a mind-stimulating maze is a paper plate, construction paper, glue, scissors, and a marble. Kids today may not have any experience playing with pinball machines but after some simple instructions, they’ll be pros at paper plate pinball!
Here’s what needs to be done to make this project successful:
  • Acquire all of the supplies needed for each student. If you don’t have these items on hand, see if any parents want to donate them. They may have a huge supply of paper plates leftover from their last barbecue and not know what to do with them. That’s great news for you as it ensures you have the supplies you need to carry out this project without a hitch.
  • Demonstrate how to create simple arches and bumpers using construction paper. Create a sample paper plate pinball machine that can be used to demonstrate the process. You may want to experiment with different types of arches, bumpers, and obstacles so your students know what options await them.
  • Assist your students in cutting out paper strips and adhering them to the plates. Depending on how late in the day you teach this STEM project determines whether the glue will be dry in time to try out the pinball machines. You may have to extend the project into a two-day time period to ensure that all arches and bumpers are secure on the plates.
  • Have fun ‘scoring’ points with the marbles. Let your students explore their games by tilting them to try to get the marble into the proper slot. If your students wrote out scores for the different areas of the game, have them keep track of theirs so they can share it with the class later.

This STEM activity is easy to do. It requires little effort to execute and teaches students in a truly memorable way. It’s one way to incorporate fun and science in the classroom.

Character Building Activities to Use in the Classroom Today

Character is what defines a person. It gives their personality substance. It’s what they rely on to make solid decisions throughout their lifetime.
As a teacher and a role model, you have the power to help shape your students’ character. By modeling the right types of behavior and including lessons that focus on character building, you’re able to influence children and help them develop traits that considered desirable by society as a whole.
Here are some character building activities you can use in the classroom today:
·      Fill the bucket. Give each student slips of paper. Ask them to write something complimentary on them for each one of their peers. Have them pass out their compliments accordingly. Once everyone is finished with the task, ask the students to share some of their favorite compliments with the class.
·      Gratitude flower or tree. Create a gratitude flower or tree out of paper to place on the front of your classroom door. Whenever your class feels gratitude for something that has happened during the week, add a petal or leaf to the gratitude flower or tree. Give your students a turn posting the gratitude for the week so that everyone feels the magnitude of sharing it.
·      Helpful or hurtful. Have older kids look at magazines and share the language they feel is helpful and the language they feel is hurtful. Ask them to explain why they believe it to be true. This teaches them about empathy and thinking about how words make other people feel.

Character building is underutilized in schools nationwide. By engaging in activities that teach core values such as honesty, respectfulness, integrity, loyalty, compassion, and fairness, you’re helping children prepare for the real world and the many life lessons they’ll learn as adults. The more you focus on character building, the brighter future you give to your students who learn by example.