February 2017 - momgineer

Sunday, February 26, 2017

QR Codes Make it Easy to Go Digital in Math Class


QR Codes in Math Class

One of the perils of keeping a cell phone in your back pocket is that IF you forget it's in there and make a quick run to the bathroom, you MAY find yourself doing what you NEVER thought you would do. Reaching into a toilet to save your precious? Maybe you've been lucky enough to never deal with this particular ring of hell. Maybe it was a just-cleaned toilet at home and no one was around to hear you scream, and not a public toilet that hasn't been cleaned in weeks, where your stall neighbor debates what is worse - your hygiene habits or the profanity spewing from your mouth. Maybe we should have a march against back pockets, because they are a danger to our livelihood in this day and age.

Keep the pencil and paper math, but kick it up a notch with QR codes for self-checking in your math class. Your kids will love the chance to use technology. | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

Keep the pencil and paper math, but kick it up a notch with QR codes for self-checking in your math class. Your kids will love the chance to use technology. | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

What does this have to do with math?

Right. So maybe you don't need to let your kids use your cell phone to scan their QR codes because you have iPads for that. Phew, let's hope that's the case, because at least those don't fit in anyone's back pocket. I will be the first to admit my love of all things technology. I will also tell you that I have to do math on paper. I need to draw my picture and diagram and write and erase and cross things out and so on. I hope you and your kids do, too, and follow all the steps they need to solve their math problems.


Why do I need QR codes?

You don't need QR codes. Once you try them, though, and see how excited your kids are to work through math problems and check their answers, you will love having them. Task cards work well for this too - have one problem per task card, organizer them in coupon holders or plastic containers, and use them at your math centers so kids can work independently honing their math skills.

How do I use QR codes?

QR codes are easy. All you need is a reader to scan the code. There are dozens of free QR code readers to choose from. I love them so much that I included QR codes with these math task cards. When you scan the code, you will get the answer. It's a very fast and easy way to check, and even though kids get to use technology, they are not overusing it. They are still focusing the "meat" of their work elsewhere.

Other Ways to Use QR Codes in Math

Create a scavenger hunt! This is a favorite activity for kids. It will take some planning ahead and you will have to take the QR codes to the next level (not just scanning, but also creating them). You can do something as follows -
  • Start with a task, such as "Find 4 apples" (you will need to have four apple icons pinned up somewhere in the room, with a QR code nearby)
  • Then have the QR code there so that when they scan it, it will give the next clue (something like "Find 10 + 3 window clings" or "Find 19 - 11 erasers" - you can put the next clue in with your erasers or on the window).
  • You will need to create your own QR codes. I like using Kaywa (click more for text codes, which is what I stick with for kids).

Try Math QR Codes for FREE

This resource is for 3rd and 4th graders, but if you want to see how to use them, you can download it and try it out.

Fractions Task Cards with QR Codes

Here's a hint - you don't even need to print the cards to scan them! You can scan them right on a screen. That is like, DOUBLE the fun for kids, trust me. You aren't lazy for not printing the cards, you are an ENVIRONMENTALIST.
 

Remember to keep that phone out of your back pocket. Trust me, you don't want to go there. If you are going to insist, at least keep desiccant and/or dry rice on hand so you are prepared. Love QR codes and want to use them everywhere you can? Find additional ideas on using QR codes in the classroom here.


momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

10 Easy STEM Activities Your Kids Will Love


Top Simple STEM Challenges

It all started with a bag of cups and some tape. Blue painters tape can change your child's life, especially if they've been blessed with an imagination. Why not give that creative energy some direction? After you have gathered some basic materials, you are ready to start some simple STEM challenges!
 

Easy STEM Building challenges

Building challenges are easily accessible. You can use a variety of materials and get totally different results. Some fun ones to try:
  • books
  • cups
  • dice
  • sand
  • pipe cleaners
  • LEGOs
  • empty recyclable containers
  • deck of playing cards
Ask some questions to get your kids to explore the challenge more: What happens if the base is narrower than the top? Is this tower strong enough to support your weight? What about the weight of a small book or toy? Is there one spot on the structure you could touch or push and have the whole thing come crashing down? What happens if you mix the materials in the structure? Will it still work?

10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer


10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

Explore Force & Motion with these STEM challenges

Experience gravity, drag, and friction with these fun STEM challenges. Start with a paper airplane. Learn the basics of making good folds and creases. Try out your design with some modifications. Questions to ask: What happens when you add weights like paper clips or pennies, cut flaps at the back of the wings and fold them up, or change the material (try it with small light paper or even big newspaper)? What is the longest distance or time you can make the airplane fly? Can you make it fly in a loop?

10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

Use cardboard tubes or paper to create a marble run. Questions to ask: Can you make it take a specific amount of time for the marble to reach the bottom in a repeatable way? What happens as you change the angles of your tubes? Does the size of the marble change the speed at which it completes the run?

10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

What about a car ramp for a toy car? Can you make it so the car stops when it gets to the bottom? What happens if you add a jump into the ramp? Will the car land on its wheels or flip?
 10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

Use hard boiled or plastic eggs and design a container that protects them. Can you drop it from the seat of a chair and keep it safe? What about if you drop it from a table, a high shelf, or even off a second story? What are some ways of protecting the egg?

How far apart can you place the dominoes and have your domino chain reaction work? What if the dominoes are of a different size? Will they still fall over?

Get creative with STEM and STEAM

Sometimes it's fun to get outside and get messy! Make a simple bubble solution with water, dish detergent, and corn syrup (a lot of water, much less dish soap, even less corn syrup - the amounts vary in recipes I've found but if you fill a pitcher most of the way with water, put in about a half cup of dish soap, and about an eighth of a cup of corn syrup it works pretty well. These proportions are less than what I have found online but if it isn't working for you just up the dish soap or corn syrup). Use pipe cleaners or straws and try to make a bubble wand! Questions to ask: can you make a bubble into a shape other than a sphere? What's the biggest bubble you can create?


10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

For rainy days or when you just want to go digital, head to your favorite drawing program. Try to create symmetry art or a fun word cloud with your favorite science words!

10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

If you are looking to go deeper into STEM exploration, I have a set of 10 challenges that include more details about the set up, as well as key engineering vocabulary terms and graphic organizers to record the process. You can can an idea of what they are like at my guest post on Minds in Bloom - there is even a graphic organizer you can download and print to get you started!

What are your favorite easy STEM activities? Want to save these ideas for later? Pin them with this graphic:
10 easy STEM activities your kids will love! Simple materials, fast set up, big on fun! | Meredith Anderson - Momgineer

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!