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The Books to Briefs feature is available for anyone to view.
Navigate With Nanobots: A STEAM “212” Design Challenge – Megan Tucker
How Can we Enhance our Spatial Intelligence Skills? – Douglas Lecorchick, Sarah Greene, and Matthew Woodward; Art by Alexander Lecorchick
Exploring the Synergy Between the <Move> Steering Input and Turning a Robot – Krista Francis, Stefan Rothschuh, Sarah Hamilton, and Graham Diehl
Literature-Based STEM: Leveraging Children’s Books to Teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – Kenneth Welty
From the Editor:
STEL Core Standard 4: Impacts of Technology – Thomas Roberts
Message from the Elementary STEM Council President:
Celebrating Successes in a Year Like No Other – Thomas Roberts
Books to Briefs:
Recycle the Rainbow/Recicla El Arcoiris – Stacey Lorah and Katharine F. Rozman
Meet Patricia Smeyers, Secaucus School District, Secaucus, NJ
STEM at Home:
Earth-Friendly Energy at Home – Julie Sicks-Panus
Computer Science: A Top STEM Career – Virginia R. Jones, Ph.D. DTE
Books to Briefs
Recycle the Rainbow/Recicla El Arcoiris
by Stacey Lorah and Katharine F. Rozman
Marshall, L. E. (2016). Rainbow weaver: Tejedora del arcoíris. Children's Book Press. [40 Pages; ISBN 978-0-89239-374-9]
Book image courtesy of Amazon.com: www.amazon.com/Rainbow-Weaver-Tejedora-del-Arcoiris/dp/0892393742
• Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCkd6VBwmzk
• English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd7uGghI-Gk
Grade Level: Grade 2-3
Ixchel longs to follow the tradition of backstrap weaving, which has been done by generations of Mayan women in her family. With no extra thread to practice, Ixchel searches for materials to use for weaving. As she discovers that grass is too scratchy and wool is too thick, it seems Ixchel may never find the right material. Still, she remains determined. With creative innovation and community support, Ixchel creates beautiful fabric from recycled bags and helps the environment, too.
After reading Rainbow Weaver, the teacher presents reusable waste materials and relates them to Ixchel’s cloth. Students work in pairs to create wristbands from recyclable materials. Each group tests materials for their intended purpose while engaging in design thinking.
Students partake in the design process as they create wristbands from recycled materials. They will consider wearable attributes of different mediums, while learning environmental benefits of repurposing trash.
student learning objectives
Students will be able to:
Common Core Math and ELA Standards (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2021):
o Add drawings or other visual displays to presentations when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
o Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
• C.C. 2.4.2.A.1
o Measure and estimate lengths in standard units using appropriate tools.
o Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of temperature, liquid volume, mass or length.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013):
• 2-PS1-2, Matter and Its Interactions
o Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.
• 3-5-ETS1-1 Engineering Design
o Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, 2020):
o Select ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
o Judge technologies to determine the best one to use to complete a given task or meet a need.
o Apply skills necessary for making in design.
o Apply the technology and engineering design process.
Ixchel was determined to make a cloth to help pay for school. She made several attempts using recycled materials before finding the perfect solution. Can you use recycled materials to make a wristband for you or a friend to wear?
Design and create a wristband using recycled materials.
Criteria and Constraints:
Aperauch, T. [Reading Rainbow]. (2017, May 10). How trash is recycled with Levar Burton [Video]. YouTube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX55cKJvg-g
Cartoon Network. [Craig of the Creek]. (2020, April 22). Reduce, reuse, recycle [Video]. YouTube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzQSpu9-iE0
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2021). Read the standards. www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). (2020). Standards for technological and engineering literacy: The role of technology and engineering in STEM education. www.iteea.org/STEL.aspx
Happy Learning Español. [Videos educativos para niños]. (2017, May 9). Reducir, reutilizar y reciclar para mejorar el mundo [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/cvakvfXj0KE
Marshall, L. E. & Chavarri, E. (2016). Rainbow weaver: Tejedora del arcoíris. Children's Book Press.
NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. www.nextgenscience.org/
NOTE: Recycle the Rainbow journals are availble in English and Spanish on the ITEEA website at:
Stacey Lorah is a preschool STEM teacher at Thrive to Five Head Start in Lancaster County, PA. She has worked with preschool students for the past 16 years and is pursuing a Master’s degree at Millersville University. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katharine F. Rozman has taught both kindergarten and special education for the East Pennsboro Area School District in Enola, PA. She is pursuing her M.S. in Technology and Innovation with an emphasis on STEM education at Millersville University. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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