# STEMsparks

Try solving one of our STEMsparks below! The goal of these tasks and activities is to SPARK your learning of concepts related to STEM. We will post a new STEM Spark each week.

Inspired by Dan Meyer's Three-Act Math Tasks, we have created videos to introduce and wrap-up each STEM Spark. The videos help introduce these challenging tasks visually. We encourage you to be creative and persevere in solving them. We hope they SPARK your interest in STEM and exploring other STEM-related resources.

## STEMspark #19: Energy

### from the Tickle College of Engineering

Learn about the conservation of energy through two interesting experiments!

## STEMspark #18: Hover Craft

### from the Tickle College of Engineering

Learn how make a mini hover craft and test it out!

## STEMspark #17: Density Spark

### from the Tickle College of Engineering

Learn about density through a fun experiment!

## STEMspark #16: Bowling

### from the Tickle College of Engineering

Learn about momentum through a bowling activity!

## STEMspark #15: Ants

This STEMspark connects STEM and literacy. First, watch the video below or read the The Life and Times of the Ant by Charles Micucci. Then complete the three activities below by gathering the materials listed and watching the instructional videos.

## Read The Backyard Bug: Book for Kids or watch the video below.

The Life and Times of the Ant read by Carlos.mp4

## Ant Song

Ant song by Jessi.mp4

• none

## Ant Spelling Numbers

Ant spelling numbers activity by Megan.MOV

### Materials Needed:

• white sheet of paper

• 4 popsicle sticks

• cup

• tape

• crayons or colored pencils

• scissors

• 1 marker

## Parts of an Ant

Parts of An Ant .MOV

### Materials Needed:

• 1 popsicle stick

• 1 straw

• 3 crayons (colors of your choice)

• 1 Marker

## STEMspark #14: Insects

This STEMspark connects STEM and literacy. First, watch the video below or read the The Backyard Bug: Book for Kids by Lauren Davidson. Then complete the three activities below by gathering the materials listed and watching the instructional videos.

## Read The Backyard Bug: Book for Kids or watch the video below.

The Backyard Bug_Book for Kids read by Nick Kim.mp4

## Create a Firefly Home

video.mov

### Materials Needed:

• Clear cup

• Snap cubes/blocks

• Stickers (firefly or dot stickers)

• Pen, marker, or pencil

• Flashlight (optional)

## Insect or Not Activity

Insect or Not by Chris v1.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• 2 cups

• Crayons or markers

• Paper

• Scissors

• Bug stickers

• Dot stickers

• Pen or pencil

## Make an Insect

Making an Insect by Kolton.mov

### Materials Needed:

• 3 popsicle sticks

• Snap cubes/blocks

• Crayons

• Pencil or pen

• Dot stickers

• Tape

• 2-3 straws

• Scissors

## STEMspark #13: Praying Mantis

This STEMspark connects STEM and literacy. First, watch the video below or read the My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis. Then complete the three activities below by gathering the materials listed and watching the instructional videos.

## Read My Awesome Summer or watch the video below.

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis read by Carlos.mp4

## Make a Praying Mantis Mask

How to Make a Praying Mantis Mask by Benjamin Bridges.mov

### Materials Needed:

• Sheet of paper

• Scissors

• Crayons or markers

• Glue

• Popsicle stick

## Praying Mantis Camouflage

Praying Mantis Camoflauge by Jakob.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• Pencil or pen

• Crayons, markers, or coloring pencils

• Tape

• Piece of paper

## Praying Mantis Yoga

Praying Mantis Yoga by Jessi.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• Yoga mat or blanket

## STEMspark #12: Flies

This STEMspark connects STEM and literacy. First, watch the video below or read the Diary of a Fly. Then complete the three activities below by gathering the materials listed and watching the instructional videos.

## Read Diary of a Fly or watch the video below.

Diary of a Fly read by Jessi.m4v

## Skip Counting and Place Value Activity

Flyvideo_skipcountingandplacevalue_Pugh.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• paper

• page of circle stickers

• crayons

• marker

• pencil

## Life Cycle of a Fly Activity

Lifecycle of a Fly.MOV

### Materials Needed:

• piece of a straw

• 2 plastic cups

• marker

• popsicle sticks

## Making Flies and Skip Counting

Making Flies and Skip Counting by Kolton.mov

### Materials Needed:

• 4 plastic cups

• Page of circle stickers

• Crayons

• insect stickers

## STEMspark #11: Dragonflies

This STEMspark connects STEM and literacy. First, watch the video below or read the Are you a Dragonfly. Then complete the three activities below by gathering the materials listed and watching the instructional videos.

## Read Are you a Dragonfly or watch the video below.

Are you a Dragonfly? read by Carlos.mp4

## Make a Dragonfly and Learn About how they Grow

Craft Time with Katelyn - Dragon Fly.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• tape or glue

• scissors

• 2 popsicle sticks

• Markers or crayons

• a piece of paper

## Learn about a Dragonfly's Special Eyes

Dragonfly Eyes by Chris v1.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• Plastic cup

• Crayons

• Marker

• Pen

• a piece of paper

## Learn About the Anatomy of a Dragonfly

Dragonfly_activity.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• Piece of paper

• permanent marker

• Crayons

## STEMspark #10: Butterflies

This STEMspark connects STEM and literacy. First, watch the video below or read the A Butterfly is Patient. Then complete the four activities below by gathering the materials listed and watching the instructional videos.

## Read A Butterfly is Patient or watch the video below.

A Butterfly is Patient Read by Megan.MOV

## Butterfly Anatomy

Butterfly anatomy by Jakob.mp4

### Materials Needed:

• Scissors

• Crayons

• Tape

• Pen or pencil

• 1 popsicle stick

## Butterfly Stages

Butterflies stages by Layla.mov

### Materials Needed:

• 3 plastic cups

• popsicle stick

• marker or pen

• pencil

• crayons

• stickers (insects and page of circle stickers

## How to Draw a Butterfly

How to Draw a Butterfly by Benjamin Bridges.mov

### Materials Needed:

• a piece of paper

• Crayons, markers, or coloring pencils

## Stages of a Butterfly

Craft Time with Katelyn - Butterfly(working on sound).mp4

### Materials Needed:

• 2 plastic cups

• 2 pieces of paper

• Crayons

• Black marker

• Tape or glue

• Scissors

## STEMspark #9: Area of a Circle

First watch the Intro Video and try these questions:

1. Will this always work for any circle? What properties of a circle help us know this?

2. If we could make smaller and smaller sector wedges, what kind of parallelogram would our circle start to look like? Would it ever approximate a perfect square? Why is this so?

Then watch the Wrap- Up Video and try these questions:

1. Solve the area of a rectangle with length 5 and width 8:

2. Solve the area of a circle with radius 3

3. Using the area from part three, what would the area of a single sector be if we cut the circle into 8 sectors?

Review this presentation that was used in the Intro and Wrap-Up videos.

Stem1.pptx
zoom_0.mp4

zoom_1.mp4

## STEMspark #8: The Color Taste Test

Do we taste with our taste buds or do we taste based on what we see? Try this Color Taste Test to find out.

### Materials:

• Cup of water

• 5 clear cups

• Food dye

• Sprite or another clear drink

### Your Task:

• Pour Sprite in each of the 5 clear cups and put a different color of food dye in each cup.

• Ask a volunteer to participate and take a drink of water to cleanse his/her taste palette.

• Ask the volunteer to keep their eyes open and take a sip of each cup and drink of water after each sip.

• Ask the volunteer the following questions:

• What was your favorite drink?

• Did you taste any different flavors?

• Then have the volunteer close their eyes and take a sip of each cup and drink of water after each sip.

• Again, ask the volunteer the following questions:

• What was your favorite drink?

• Did you taste any different flavors?

• Compare the volunteer's answers.

• Finally, reveal to the volunteer that all the cups have the same drink. Have the volunteer take a sip from each cup again after being aware that all the cups have the same drink.

Sliwa_STEM_Spark_Color_Taste_Test_720p.mp4

## Intro

Sliwa_STEM_Spark_Color_Taste_Test_Part_2_720p (1).mp4

## STEMspark #7: Index Card Tower Challenge

Inspired by Matt Farrell's YouTube STEM Challenge.

### Your Challenge:

Using 12 index cards, build the tallest tower that you can.

BrownE_Video 1_4_9_2020 copy.mov

## Intro

BrownE_Video 2_4_9_2020 copy.mov

## STEMspark #6: Plastic Audit Challenge

### Protect our Planet Challenge:

This Earth Day challenge was shared by the Tennessee STEM Innovator Network. Although, Earth Day has passed, it is always good to find ways to protect our planet. Students participate in this challenge to protect our planet by engaging in a plastic audit. How can you reduce plastic waste at your home?

Watch the video below for an introduction to the Plastic Audit Challenge and examples of simple ways to save plastic waste.

### Your Task:

• Go around your house and find places in your home where you use plastic.

• Identify ways you can swap the plastic items for other reusable or recyclable items that would save plastic waste.

• Write about or draw a picture of ways you can reduce plastic waste in your home. Please share your ideas with us using the Google form.

For more Earth Day challenges, visit EarthDay.org

## STEMspark #5: Design a Recycled Prototype of a Business that Allows for Social Distancing

### Design Challenge:

This design challenge was inspired by Stephanie Prince's tweet. The grocery store prototype created by one of her 3rd graders at Adrian Burnett Elementary School is shown in the picture below.

We would like you to create a prototype of a business that allows for social distancing using recycled materials. You can choose a business from the following list or select a different business:

• restaurant

• grocery store

• healthcare clinic

• veterinary hospital

• convenient store or gas station

• auto-repair shop

• post office

### Suggested steps:

• First choose a business.

• Next, design a plan for how your selected business can allow for social distancing

• Gather recycled materials

• Create your prototype

• Finally, take a picture and share it with us!

## STEMspark #4: Is Rock, Paper, Scissors, Fair?

### Use this handout to complete this STEM Spark.

Is Rock, Paper, Scissors Fair?.docx

## STEMspark #3: Microplastics in East Tennessee

### Your Task:

We would like you to come up with a plan to eliminate or reduce the microplastics in the TN river. Your plan should include:

• method of microplastic removal

• estimated cost to implement your method

• projected timeline of success

• plan for sustainability after method is initiated

You will record your final ideas on the paper or on a computer and share it with your friends, family, or back to us.

## STEMspark #2: The Game of NIM

### Three Rules:

• You need 10 small objects in a line.

• This game requires two players (take turns).

• When it is your turn, you will pick up one or two objects.

The Winner is the person who picks up the last object or two objects!

### Your task:

Play several times and try different strategies. Come up with a strategy that allows you to win every time!

Remember: STEM is problem solving. STEM is thinking about strategies and trying them!

We were inspired by the Family Math book. Check out this book for additional information about NIM.

Check out the Nrich site for another version of NIM and other similar games that involve strategy thinking: https://nrich.maths.org/1204

## STEMspark #1: Cut-A-Card Task

### Materials Needed:

• 3" X 5" Index cards

• Scissors

• Practice paper (optional)

This task comes from the Family Math book by Stenmark, Thompson, and Cossey (1986). You can purchase this book to see this task and many other engaging tasks by clicking the button below.

For more tasks to develop visualization skills, visit Jo Boaler's YouCubed website.