Literature and Stem Connections

Using children's literature as the hook for STEM projects

Photo of Josephine Stringer
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In order to create rich, cross curricular STEM experiences beginning with great children's literature, I would like to re-purpose empty library shelves to "build" curiosity cabinets.  These cabinets would house children's literature along with exploration "artifacts" and simple, self-directed, hands-on projects.  

Examples of a curiosity cabinet about gravity/motion/wind might be the book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind along with items that students could observe in a wind tunnel, such as feathers, paper and ping pong balls. Another cabinet might house littleBits with suggested challenge cards such as making a moving puppet after reading Balloons Over Broadway.  An archaeology curiosity cabinet might house dinosaur books, fossils and a tub with sand for a "dinosaur dig." The possibilities are endless! 

Image title

Sample Curiosity Cabinet about Force & Motion with a marble run as an artifact for student exploration

Next steps would be creating a list of STEM curiosity topics and finding or purchasing appropriate children's literature and artifacts.  Ideally, there would be 2-3 cabinets in the library as well as 3 circulating cabinets geared to specific grade levels: K-1, 2-3rd, 4-5th.  

More info at Literature and Steam GoogleDoc

Generating curiosity will enhance student engagement and drive individualized learning opportunities!

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Photo of Josephine Stringer

My goal is to complement the priority standards that are being taught in the classroom but not use the same literature as the curriculum. However, I would also like a mix of content that is strictly student interest based and not related to curriculum...

I am loving this site for inspiration:

Photo of Jill Jensen

I love the idea of literature and STEM, and a goal I am working on this year too. Have you heard of:
It might give you some other book and STEM challenge ideas.

Photo of Michelle Fontenot

I love that you asked students to share what they were curious about! They are so open & curious at that age, and we rarely have the opportunity to direct that energy into a truly productive endeavor. 

Photo of John Faig

You may want to connect with another proposal called "STEM bins" because it seems like you could create bins that correspond to a particular book (or books if you give students a choice).

Photo of Josephine Stringer

Thank you, John!  I happen to work with Miranda Wilson and Kathleen Hartsell (authors of the STEM bins project) and they are passionate, energetic teachers.  I am privileged to work with them!

Photo of Skyler Rossacci

SO COOL! So are these books that are already read in classes? (like are they set in the curriculum?) would you then provide support with the teacher to create a lesson or when the students come to the library would they read + engage in a STEM experience??? I am loving this idea of connecting literacy + STEM!