Kids love science, and if you’re digging into a unit on simple machines, why not expand the unit into your ELA block too. Today, we’ll explore ideas that can help you do just that. In this post, I’ll share book suggestions, classroom activities, and tech ideas to make your simple machines studies fun for all.
Simple Machines and Inventions Pinterest Board
If you’re looking for ideas for this theme, one of the best starting points is on Pinterest. I’ve put this board together with resource, blog posts, book recommendations, and tech links. Certainly, you can feel free to repin from it to your own boards.
Book Recommendations with a Simple Machines Theme
There are great examples of books (both fiction and nonfiction options), and with the emphasis on STEM and content area reading, this could be lots of fun, right?
I had so much fun looking for books on this topic, and to my surprise, Junkyard Wonders was in the Amazon collection. I hadn’t thought of this connection. It is a superb books for not only celebrating student creativity, but also individuality. Students are unique and special, and I love that this book builds upon that theme. I put together a book unit for this book, and you can access it on the left.
Another favorite book this list is the book, Regards to the Man on the Moon by Ezra Jack Keats. The children demonstrate imaginations by using old junk as their “spaceship”. It could lead to spaceship design or your own invention convention.
The final “collection” I’d like to recommend are the books by Chris Van Dusen. If you are not familiar with his books, you might recognize his illustrations in the Mercy Watson series, and the illustrations in these books have a similar look. They pop off the page, but the stories are fabulous too. They sort of remind me of a superhero theme, but they hit on imagination and creativity too. I did not find any freebies that I loved to go with these books, but I will try to whip something up if we have a snow day tomorrow. I would love to use these books as mentor texts for a writing lesson (hint!)
Fun Classroom Activities for Extension
This theme has many options or directions you can explore. I think you could study biographies of famous inventors in reading, simple machines, force, and motion in science, and how-to writing. As a special culminating event, why not host an invention convention. I saw several blog posts about that, and I think kids would have a blast designing their own inventions.
I also loved these research projects I found on Fabulous in Fifth. For more information on how to make them, check out Kelly’s blog post [here] She used a product made by Deniece at This Little Piggy Reads to guide her students work. Isn’t it neat??
Another cute option I loved for writing was to have your students invent a new ice cream type. The students write up their recipe and bring in samples to share. I think offering an ice cream invention convention along with a museum of inventor projects would be a fun parental involvement night.
What inventor/invention ideas have you tried? Share your ideas in your own blog post, comment about them below, or add your favorite link to the list. After all, many hands make work light, right? Let’s bring our heads together and see what a great thematic unit we can build.
Have a wonderful week, readers. Until next time…happy reading!