Contributors to the iSTEM (Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) department share ideas and activities that stimulate student interest in the integrated fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in K–grade 6 classrooms. This article is a comprehensive Earthquake Engineering activity that includes the Designing an earthquake-resistant building problem. The task was implemented in sixth-grade classes (10–11-year-olds). Students applied engineering design processes and their understanding of cross-bracing, tapered geometry, and base isolation to create numerous structures, which they tested on a “shaker table.”
Lyn D. English and Donna T. King
Dionne I. Cross, Olufunke Adefope, Mi Yeon Lee, and Arnulfo Pérez
Kindergartners and first-grade students listen excitedly to a modified storybook to guide their geometry activities.
Annie Perkins and Christy Pettis
This student problem explores how many different triangles can be produced on a geoboard.
Florencia Park and Hannah Lee
Geometry is much more than learning vocabulary and identifying shapes; it involves developing spatial sense—an intuition about shapes and the relationship between them. In this Let's Build It activity, students reason about geometric shapes and their attributes as they use newspaper dowels to build two- and three-dimensional structures.
Elaine Cerrato Fisher, George Roy, and Charles (Andy) Reeves
Be inspired by a formerly timid third grader who now confidently conveys a new understanding of numbers, patterns, and their relationships as functions.
This department showcases students' in-depth thinking and work on problems previously published in Teaching Children Mathematics. The November 2011 problem scenario has students explore several rich, mathematical ideas, such as square numbers and the commutative property of multiplication.
Laurie St. Julien
Why would a person who is terrified of cockroaches use them in a math lesson? The idea for this investigation did not occur to me until I read a newspaper article that described Italian scientist Paolo Domenici's research about cockroaches' escape trajectories. In particular, he found that cockroaches have preferred escape trajectories of 90, 120, 150, and 180 degrees from the source of danger (Domenici et al. 2008). Because this real-world information presents a unique problem-solving context for fifth graders to explore angles formed by clockwise and counterclockwise rotations, I overcame my fear of the creatures to develop this investigation.
Christina Fonstad and Lynn McGarvey
Bethany Singer and Kathryn G. Shafer
Kindergartners created representations of real-life objects in three dimensions as well as 3D representations of MagnaTile objects, giving them a unique experience with technology and furthering their knowledge of 3D shapes.
Sherri Farmer and Signe E. Kastberg
Each month, elementary teachers are given problem along with suggested instructional notes. Teachers are asked to use the problem in their own classrooms and report solutions, strategies, reflections, and misconceptions to the journal audience.