Category Archives: Learning Opportunities

Mystery Bag Design Challenge

Looking for a really fun STEM challenge that you can do at home? This mystery bag STEM design challenge is a blast!

Step One: Gather Materials
  • One bag (you can use gift bags, lunch bags, grocery bags, or even large baggies.)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (scotch tape or masking tape)
  • Various kinds of recyclables (cardboard tubes, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum foil)
  • A variety of other materials (paper plates, plastic cups, string, yarn, pipe cleaners)
  • Mystery Bag Challenge Cards (print and cut these if you can)

Step Two: Fill Your Bag (Tip: it’s more challenging if a sibling or parent fills your bag)

Place about 8-12 items into the bag. You’ll want to be sure the items are varied. Each bag should contain at least one larger item that can serve as a base for the design, and then an assortment of smaller items.

Step Three: Print out the free mystery bag challenge cards. Cut them apart.

Step Four: Draw a challenge card. You could put the cards in a container to draw from or place face down on a table.

Step Five: Complete the challenge on the card using only the materials in your bag.

Bonus: Earn a  badge. If you complete FIVE mystery bag design challenges, you can earn the Mystery Design Challenge Badge. Go for it!!

Here is video I made at my old school where I challenged my students to create an innovative dog toy. Just ignore anytime I say, “Hey Bobcats”

 

 

#83 The Luhn Algorithm

The Luhn algorithm or Luhn formula, also known as the modulus 10″ or “mod 10” algorithm, was developed in the 1960s as a method of validating identification numbers.  Number communication accuracy can be using this formula

Take time to explore:

Read this article about the formula and how it is used in real life to catch errors when shopping online.  Research the creator Peter Luhn and make a timeline about his life.

In this video you will learn how to use the Luhn Algorithm. Make the table on paper as you watch.

Math challenge presented by CEMC math POTWC-20-NN-PA-21-P . Print it out, read the page and look at the different strategy that they present to you. Try to figure out the last challenge. Answer key for challenge. You can use this to check you work.

 

 

 

#82: EWeek 2021

Do some math problems and earn PRIZES!

Engineers Week (EWeek) is THIS WEEK and you can celebrate with MATHCOUNTS by solving their 5 Problems of the Day (linked below).  BONUS: Just for participating, you’ll have an opportunity to earn some prizes!

  • Each day you’ll have an opportunity to solve our Problem of the Day and enter a prize drawing! You can submit your answers anytime during EWeek (Feb 21-27), so don’t panic if you get started late! Each Problem of the Day has multiple parts, and each correct answer you get will be a ticket in that day’s prize drawing.
  • Everyone who participates will be entered in a prize drawing! Submit answers to at least one Problem of the Day and you’ll be entered to win, even if you don’t get correct answers.
  • Each individual prize drawing winner will get a $10 Amazon gift card and each group drawing winner will receive a $50 gift card to the MATHCOUNTS store!

Monday’s Problem (Environmental Engineering): https://www.mathcounts.org/resources/problem-of-the-week/eweek-2021-environmental-engineering

Tuesday’s Problem (Systems Engineering): https://www.mathcounts.org/engineers-week

Wednesday’s Problem (Software Engineering): https://www.mathcounts.org/engineers-week

Thursday’s Problem (Aerospace Engineering): https://www.mathcounts.org/engineers-week

Friday’s Problem (Chemical Engineering): https://www.mathcounts.org/engineers-week

Early Enrichment Spark #54: Poetry!

Pictured above is one of my favorite poets – Amanda Gorman. In the picture, she is reading a poem at the inauguration of President Joe Biden! And, she is just 22 years old!!

Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer! She has written for the New York Times and has three books forthcoming with Penguin Random House.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began writing at only a few years of age. Now her words have won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others.

In 2017, Amanda Gorman was appointed the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word – a program that supports Youth Poets Laureate in more than 60 cities, regions and states nationally. She is the recipient of the Poets & Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and is the youngest. board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States.

Click on the link below to watch Amanda Gorman read her poem “Talking Gets Us There”.

https://pbskids.org/video/dots-spot/3050991492

HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE: WRITE A POEM OF YOUR OWN!!

Go to https://www.poetry4kids.com/ to explore! Click on the “Poems” tab to read poems others have written to help you gain some inspiration!

Under the “Lessons” tab, you’ll find poetry lessons, as well as a rhyming dictionary!!

Submit your poem in the comments below.

Social Studies Spark #44: The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman

Image from biography.com

February is Black History Month. I can think of almost no one more heroic in Black history than Harriet Tubman.  The more you discover about Tubman, the more you realize she had to be a superhero to pull off exploits it would be an understatement to say were daring.

This tiny woman who could neither read nor write now has not one, but two national parks dedicated to her story, plus the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center on the eastern shore of Maryland, where she was born Araminta Ross – Minty for short – around 1822.

Her parents were enslaved on different plantations, hours apart. She and her mother were owned by Edward Brodess, who made $60 a year renting her out, starting when she was six.

In 1849, she escaped from a place called Poplar Neck, in Caroline County, Maryland, when word reached her that she was going to be sold South.

Look at a map, and imagine Harriet, in her 20s, running away, alone, on foot. She managed, with the help of the Underground Railroad, to make it a hundred miles to the Pennsylvania border, and freedom.

But then Tubman went back – 13 times over 10 years – leading more than 70 people to freedom.

Click on the link below to watch this TEDED on the life of Harriet Tubman.

https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-courage-of-harriet-tubman-janell-hobson

L. Arts Mini Spark #58 – Creative Tweets

Step 1: What is a Tweet? Read the definition below and look at the examples.

  • What is a Tweet?  A tweet is a status update on a social media platform called Twitter that is broadcast to other users. Limited to 140 characters or less, tweets can express how users are feeling, what they’re doing, and anything in between.

Step 2: Look over the Tweet options below and choose one to complete.

  • Option 1: Character Tweet

What would a character from a favorite book “tweet” at the end of a chapter or section. Write it as though you are that character using Twitter.

Character Tweet Example:

Character Tweet Template:

 

  • Option 2: Chapter/Section Tweet:

Think of a chapter of a book or section of a movie and summarize what happened twitter style.

Chapter/Section Template:

  • Option 3: Book Review Tweet

Book Review Tweet Examples:

  • Option 4: Historical Figure Tweet

Choose a person from a historical event. What would this historical figure “tweet” after this event? Write it as though you are that person using Twitter.

Historical Figure Template:

Step 3: Use the contact form below and type your Tweet in the Message section. Hit Submit

#81 Triangular Numbers

Have you seen a question like this before?

How can you solve this problem without drawing a picture on paper?

Use one of the resources below to solve the problem.

  • Use this interactive tool to construct triangular numbers until you can see the pattern to answer the counter question from above.

  • ADVANCED: This is a teaching page that REALLY gets into the math behind these types of problems. Use the formula and see if you can get the right answer.

  • Check out this triangular number chart.  Click on getting started. When you have a solution and a written statement about what you did to solve the problem, check the “solution” button to check your work.

  • Connection: Research the original Light Brite, a 1960s toy. Come up with some unique idea on how teachers can use these toys to teach math, science, and art.

 

Image source: https://nzmaths.co.nz/sites/default/files/TriangularNumbers.pdf

SNOW + ENGINEERING = FUN

For this challenge, create your best snow person/people, forts, and/or other snow creations!

Learn about the engineering behind snow building by watching the videos below.

Send a picture of your project to your teacher asking them to forward it to your email. Make a pic collage showing what you learned. 

L. Arts Mini Spark #57- Unicorns

We will celebrate National Unicorn Day on April 9th. Check out these  fun unicorn topics to stretch your knowledge about this mythical beast to get ready!

Free Vector | Silhouette of a unicorn on a hologram gradient background

Fact Page-kiddle.com

https://kids.kiddle.co/Unicorn

Create your own unicorn fact page

Article-Siberian Unicorn Fossils

https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/prehistoric-animals/siberian-unicorn-fossil-discovery-humans/

Make a trivia game about these creatures

Video-Unicorns of the Sea

https://youtu.be/CJbmSsSxf_A

Take detailed notes while watching this video

Book-How to Catch a Unicorn

Make a list of the traps they tried in the book.

Make a drawing of your own plan for a unicorn trap.

History-Find out about the History of Unicorns

National Unicorn Day – April 9

Make a web  diagram with information from the article.

Three blank web graphic organizers to use for any subject! | Graphic organizers, Bubble chart, Charts for kids

In the news-The Unicorn Puppy

https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/general-animals/narwhal-the-unicorn-puppy/

Summarize this article in 3 sentences

STEAM-Design a unicorn

Include a description about where it live, what it looks like, what it eats, and its powers.

Include a picture of your unicorn in its habitat

Make a pic collage about your unicorn and its features.

Early Enrichment Spark #53: Unicorn Study

We will celebrate National Unicorn Day on April 9th. Check out these  fun unicorn topics to stretch your knowledge about this mythical beast to get ready!

Free Vector | Silhouette of a unicorn on a hologram gradient background

Fact Page-kiddle.com

https://kids.kiddle.co/Unicorn

Create your own unicorn fact page

Article-Siberian Unicorn Fossils

https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/prehistoric-animals/siberian-unicorn-fossil-discovery-humans/

Make a trivia game about these creatures

Video-Unicorns of the Sea

https://youtu.be/CJbmSsSxf_A

Take detailed notes while watching this video

Book-How to Catch a Unicorn

Make a list of the traps they tried in the book.

Make a drawing of your own plan for a unicorn trap.

In the news-The Unicorn Puppy

https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/general-animals/narwhal-the-unicorn-puppy/

Summarize this article in 3 sentences

STEAM-Design a unicorn

Include a description about where it live, what it looks like, what it eats, and its powers.

Include a picture of your unicorn in its habitat

Make a pic collage about your unicorn and its features.