What do you do when you find out last minute that your guest teacher can’t come teach your STEM class? Look to Pinterest, obviously. I found out last minute I had to teach a class and only had about 20 minutes to come up with and prepare an activity for that period. Luckily, all you Pinterest people and your great ideas came to the rescue. I found a great last minute activity here and immediately knew I had to do this. I planned, prepped and prepared for the class in less than 10 minutes! Win!
This activity is pretty open ended, which I loved for my students. I had the materials available in my classroom too, so all I had to do was pull them out, and I was ready to go!
- 1 Large sheet of foil per group
- Several pipe cleaners per group (I gave them up to 7, but you can choose the amount!)
- Scissors, glue sticks (I allowed students to use these, but you don’t have to!)
Make the best creation you can with the materials given to you
Putting it all together:
Students immediately began asking if there were any other requirements or tasks. I told them, they needed to think about what being the “best” meant. Does that mean having a really useful purpose? Or maybe just the coolest looking piece? Or maybe something that would be super fun to play with. They didn’t have to use all the materials, but couldn’t use any additional materials in their creation, besides scissors and glue.
At first, students didn’t know what to think, but once I paired them up and they started discussing with their partners, I heard ideas flying.
I gave students a few minutes to plan, then handed out materials. Groups had 15 minutes to create something with their pipe cleaners and foil. Walking around, listening to their ideas, I was astonished at their creativity! Most ideas were very different from each other as well, which I loved.
Once the 15 minutes of work time was up, student groups had one minute to share why they thought their design was the best… give a sort of promo for their product. This really helped some groups demo their designs, or make a funny comment that helped the rest of the class see more of the group’s creativity and thought that went into their product.
After all the presentations, I handed students a slip of paper and told them to write down their #1 and #2 choice on which was “best” and they could NOT vote for their own.
In our class, a dinosaur hat for a child received the most votes, which a recreation of a scene from Star Wars received second place (a type of glider was close behind in third!).
I was extremely pleased with the way the activity turned out and would definitely do this again with a different class. I did it with middle school kids, but I could see any grade level enjoying it.