Ten Apples Up On Top

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd, we decided to try some fun STEM activities related to his fabulous books!  This particular activity is based on his book, “Ten Apples Up On Top”.  This activity would also be fun during the fall when doing a unit on Apples.  Whenever you do it, this is easy to set up and challenging for all ages!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Decorative small apples (I got mine from Hobby Lobby)
  • Playdoh or soft clay

img_0780

Here’s the challenge:  How many apples can YOU stack on top of each other?  For the littles the challenge was 3 apples.  For my older kids, it was 6.  For the parents in my class, it was 10.

So easy to set up!  Just give your little ones a box of decorative apples and some playdoh and let them start stacking.

img_0801

We removed the stems from the apples to make stacking easier.

img_0789

We tried putting apples upside down.

img_0787

We tried putting playdoh under the apples for stability.

img_0799

My older sons were able to get 5 apples stacked on top.  They had to work together, which was a WIN for this mama!

img_0791

A parent in my tot class was so engrossed in this activity and got 7 apples stacked.

img_0805

And the best part?  When they fall over!  (Or get knocked over!)

Finish off the activity by reading Dr. Seuss’s book, “Ten Apples Up On Top”.

For more fun Apple science activities, try the following:

For more Dr. Seuss STEM, try the following:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is a simple STEM activity that encourages creative thinking and problem solving to figure out how to best stack the apples.  Upside down or right side up apples?  Playdoh on top or on the bottom or none at all?  And early math skills for the youngest tots can be enforced by counting the apples as they are stacked (or fall!)  Best of all, it encourages teamwork and working together.

To see where I got my idea from and for more details, follow the link below:

http://theeducatorsspinonit.com/2016/09/stacking-apples-game-for-kids.html

 

 

DIY Nerf Swivel Target

When I saw this on another blogger’s site, I KNEW my boys had to make this!  I usually make them go outside and play with their Nerf darts but they always aim at the house (since they are not allowed to aim at each other.)  Here’s an EASY target for them to make and use!  And there’s some sneaky science/engineering in the project as well!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Heavy cardboard or foam posterboard (we used an old cardboard box)
  • Boxcutter/heavy duty scissors
  • Duct tape (we used painter’s tape)
  • skewers
  • straws
  • coins
  • crayons/markers
  • Nerf toy with foam darts (or you can use small balls/bean bags to throw at the targets)

IMG_2604

First, draw square or rectangular shaped holes in the cardboard/posterboard where you want the targets to go.

IMG_2601

Cut these out with heavy duty scissors or a box cutter.  If working with small children, an adult should definitely do the cutting. Once the target holes are cut from the board, cut them a bit smaller and then give them to the kids to draw and color their targets.  My superheroes BOTH decided to draw Darth Maul on their targets. (Thank goodness they didn’t draw my husband or me!)IMG_2599Once the targets have been drawn and colored, slip a skewer inside the straw and tape the straw to the back of the target.  This will allow the target to swivel and spin. Tape the exposed skewer to the edge of the holes in the board.  We added tape on all 4 sides to make it look pretty.IMG_2606What is that blue tape with a circle in the middle on the back of the target?  It’s a penny.  It was suggested that the penny helps the target stay vertical instead of hanging horizontally (due to issues with center of mass being too “centered”. The weight lowers the center of mass and allows it hang vertically).  Here’s the finished product from the front.

IMG_2611

And here is my middle son testing out his targets.  Yup!  They work.
IMG_2608

Our littlest one likes tossing small balls at the target and watch the targets spin 🙂

The Science behind the activity:

Any type of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project that you can include the kids in will involve some math and science.  Just planning out what they are going to make, measuring and cutting and putting things together are vital problem solving skills.  What I liked about this is that we discussed why we needed a straw AND a skewer for the targets to spin.  This is important for any building project where things need to spin such as wheels for cars and trucks.  We also tested and talked about why the penny was needed on the targets to get them to hang vertically and why it was better for the straws to be attached a little higher than the middle of the target.  By showing them how to experiment and problem solve, we can help them better tackle problems in the future.

Extension: This project could be varied to create targets for all sorts of fun games to play with balls, bean bags, water squirters, etc… So many ways for both girls and boys to make and play with this.

Click on the link for more details and to see where I got this idea from: http://frugalfun4boys.com/2015/02/11/spinning-nerf-targets-diy-cardboard-toy/