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Hands-on STEM Lesson or Activity Ideas for 2nd Grade

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Angela M Angela Magnelli 840 Points

Hello! I'm a preservice teacher and junior-year college student majoring in elementary education. I'm currently taking my science methods course and looking for ideas on creating a hands-on STEM lesson for 2nd graders. The lesson/activity should focus on density and/or concepts of buoyancy. Any suggestions or ideas for engaging STEM lessons on the above topic would be greatly appreciated!

Brandon Redina Brandon Redina 1465 Points

Hi Angela,

I love teaching about ideas of buoyancy, a great idea that I have always found fun is the classic project in which students are asked to construct a boat out of tin foil, and their boats can be compared in a competition determining how many pennies their boat can hold. Heres a great video I found on the project, keep up the great working in your teaching journey.

https://youtu.be/TMZ4keSdCK8

 

 

Valeria Garcia Valeria Garcia 855 Points

Hi Angela! Creating a STEM lesson for second graders focusing on buoyancy there definitely needs to be something that had to do with water. I would challenge students ton create sail boats. They would need an array of materials, and have to use a certain number of the items =, but theyb have to have a sail. Then the challenge is to see how far they can travel in 3 blows from an individual student. Another STEM activity can be having students build boats thst have to carry a certain amout of weight. Same like the sail boats, there can be an array of materials like cardboad, styrofoam, tin foil and straws. I hope this helps!

Angela M Angela Magnelli 840 Points

Hi Val! I appreciate your detailed and thoughtful response to this topic/question I posed. The STEM activity you described is an incredible idea and very hands-on, which is precisely what we’re looking to have in our lesson. My group and I have actually planned to do a similar activity using sailboats. We were planning to have students build a sailboat that can stay afloat and hold the most weight (with increasing amounts of items being put on it), but I like your suggestion of having them see how far the sailboats travel in 3 blows. Then, the group whose sailboat that travels the furthest could be the winner – if we follow a competition-based format. Your example for this criteria for success is not something we considered before, so I’ll definitely bring this to my group’s attention. Overall, both of your proposed activities offer students an engaging and kinesthetic challenge. Thank you for your help with this and for the great suggestions you provided! I’m excited to share these ideas with my group as we prepare for our STEM lesson.

Lauren Cramer Lauren Cramer 2025 Points

Brandon has a really great idea. In fact, why not try other materials also, not just pennies. They can take data and you can have them make inferences about what they believe will happen as they begin learning more about the materials they are using. 

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