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June 16, 2017

Fun Last Week of School Activities- STEM & More!

Fun Last Week of School Activities- STEM & More!


In this post, I will share some of the fun things we did during our last week or two of school.  These were all done in my second grade class, but many could be done with younger students, too, right? Here’s what I did with my little second grade cuties during their last week of school.



I know that there are plenty of you out there that are still teaching, so hang in there!  Summer is on its way, and here are some fun activities to do that you might not have thought of!

Monster Doodles

Have you ever seen these fun dry erase doodling cards from Usborne books? It comes with 50 different doodling cards that have a variety of unfinished monsters with directions, mazes, connect the dots, and other fun things to do. My kids in second grade loved them just as much as my Kindergartners did in the past!










Free Drawing

My class this year was just SO creative!  They LOVED to draw, and these are just a few of their wonderful drawings!  Turning them loose with some crayons or markers and some blank paper was a real treat for them!





iPad Time

I had the great privilege of using one-to-one iPads this year!  Although I really didn’t get to give any input on the apps that were purchased, I was very happy that my school district finally purchased Reflex Math after my grant from last year ran out!  My kids also LOVED Prodigy Math!  Extra time on these apps, as well as on the Epic reading library was SO fun for them, especially if I let them gather together on the floor.  And if I ever let them explore the iPads and just do whatever they wanted with the apps that were there, they really loved that, too!




Hidden Parts of Speech (or ANY Hidden Worksheets!)

My kids really got the hang of these worksheets, especially after I introduced this handy little anchor chart that I made!  I am including it now in the Hidden Parts of Speech download.  If you already purchased it from us, please email us at for a copy of it!






Play Dough

I always get out the play dough and craft sticks when we study shapes and geometry because making the shapes this way is a GREAT way to help kids understand the difference between the flat and volume shapes.  So on the last week of school, the sticks were still in the play dough box and some of the children decided to continue making shapes!  This one made a square-based pyramid for a roof and a cube on the bottom to form a house, and then created a little creature to live inside of it!  That’s independent learning at its finest!  Wouldn’t you agree?


 The other children made some wonderful creations and then several of them offered me “bites.”  Of course, I accepted with gusto.  How fun!




 I love how they were so careful, and some of them even included messages!


 It’s amazing how universal play dough is as a fun learning tool, isn’t it?  





My students earned another round of making slime by filling their marble jar.  It’s not easy to fill the marble jar, because in order to fill it, they have to be quiet as a whole group (with NO blurting, talking among themselves, etc. for TEN WHOLE MINUTES!)  Once they earned it, I just couldn’t say no!  Luckily, I had a volunteer mom that was nice enough to come in and do it in small groups.  Yay!



I would say that these kids REALLY enjoyed it, don’t you think?  LOL!




STEM Marble Run Tubes

So what do you do when you realize you have about three shopping bags FULL of empty paper towel rolls, and it’s the last week of school?  Well, I just threw them into a large tub, got out some masking tape, and invited them to create something.  I suggested that they make a marble run, and also got out a box of marbles.  I sat there for awhile and passed out pieces of tape until the children got tired of waiting for me to pass it out and then wanted to pull off their own tape, so I eagerly consented.  They pulled out their scissors and they were off.



We did this in small groups of five or six kids at a time.  When it was time to switch groups, the next group of kids were allowed to either continue building or take the last kids’ structures apart and make something else.  It turns out that these cardboard tubes are pretty sturdy, and the tape seems to come off easily!  I was surprised at how easy it was for kids to just pull them apart and make something else.  VERY surprised!



One child commented that she wondered how long their marble run was, so I asked her what tool would be best to figure that out.  She replied that it would be a tape measure, and so I got it out, along with a yardstick, just for fun.  They were all DYING to measure their structures!  Now go figure… they weren’t all that interested in measurement when the questions came up in the math book!  



This little cutie made himself a musical instrument!  But before that it was a spaceship, and before that it had been some type of gun.  Of course, making guns is not allowed, so it all had to be revised many times over.  So is it a “sax-a-ma-phone” or a “clar-a-ma-net?”  LOL!



When all was said and done and the kids went home, I was left with this big pile of cardboard tubes and tape.  We had been working with these tubes for about three days, so you can see that this activity could actually have gone on for MUCH longer!





I decided to use my own DVDs as morning work, having the kids write the words that they saw on the screen!  I figured that it would be good practice with the Sounds Fun Phonics DVD, (shown in the still photo below,) as well as the Sight Words DVDs for Volumes Three, Five, and Six.  I noticed that there were a few words on there that some of the kids still couldn’t spell, so why not?



This turned out to be the easiest morning work EVER, and SO much fun, especially with the new, animated DVDs!  They really held the kids’ attention quite well!  They were giggling at the silly animations while they wrote the words, and that made me happy to see that even my second graders were enjoying them!







I decided to try this with the Skip Counting DVDs that they like to dance to, and they did very well keeping up with the skip counting sequences!  I only have a picture of them writing the Count By Threes sequence below, and the YouTube sample shows the Count By Fours song.  But you get the idea, right?



By the way, of my class of 18 second graders, I had about seven of them that were learning their multiplication tables and doing quite well with them!  I’m soooo proud of their progress, because the children are not expected to do ANY multiplication at all in second grade where I live.  We just lay the foundation.





One thing that we did earlier in the year was try to make bunny rabbits out of the short (toilet paper sized) cardboard tubes.  Several of the boys in my class were not super interested in creating a bunny rabbit, and instead started turning their tubes into binoculars!  This didn’t fit into my plan for the bunnies at the time, so I redirected them to make them into rabbits instead.



Fast forward to June, and I’m wondering what we are going to do with ALL of these cardboard tubes, and so I put a volunteer to counting the small ones.  Lo and behold, it turned out we had more than enough for all of them to make binoculars!  I had them decorate a piece of paper to go over the top of the tubes, and then they brought the whole thing over to me to be stapled together.  We even put some yarn on them so they could hang around their necks!



Then we went outside and I let them RUN!  They went searching for spies, insects, and other fun things.  It was a BLAST!  Don’t you think school should ALWAYS be that fun?  Oh, those pesky standards!  LOL!



Happy summer!!!!



– Heidi


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