It's been a long week and everyone, including you, is tired and possibly a little bit burnt out. So, what do you do? You try to shake it up and have some fun while still learning! Fun Friday STEM centers are a great way to do something fun and new while still getting work done.
What is Fun Friday?
Fun Friday is an activity that you can implement in your classroom to shake up your centers while still getting the work done. These activities are typically more creative and get students working in a different way than they usually would. While many teachers fear there isn't enough time for fun due to strict testing and standard schedules, adding a bit of fun to your classroom once a week can be a game-changer for you and your students. Fun Friday is easy to implement and makes a massive difference in your classroom.
Fun Friday STEM Centers Focus on Classroom Management
To make Fun Friday run smooth, all you need to do is put your students into four or five groups, depending on your class size, and create four or five centers. These centers can have various activities for students to do, but I've found my students love STEM! I use digital rotations to help students know how to rotate.
Incentivizing Model Behavior
When you decide to implement Fun Friday into your classroom, you give your students something to look forward to and strive for during the week. There is no rule saying all students have to participate in the Fun Friday event. However, when students know what is expected of them to gain a reward, they may not have many behavior issues. You can decide who gets to participate in any way you see fit. Some ideas might include a point-based system, an “all done” type of mentality, or no behavior problems this week's rule. Whatever you decide, it needs to be consistent.
Planning Fun Friday STEM Centers
While you can have a Fun Friday with any subject, STEM is always a great choice because it encompasses so many different areas. I like to start with science topics first and then use that to create my other stations under the STEM umbrella.
I find an activity in my science station that allows students to follow directions and complete simple experiments about what we are studying. This activity will enable them to question and hypothesize as well as do some hands-on work.
With the technology station, I focus on using digital notebooks, websites, articles, and other resources students might encounter and learn about online. Some ideas can be having students use a digital interactive notebook to predict what happened with their experiment or an article to build background about the science project. You can also have students create videos and books about the investigation they are doing.
On Fun Friday, this station becomes a meta force of creative thinking. You can challenge students to build or create various building materials like Lincoln logs, Legos, or other manipulatives. Keeping your area of study in mind, have students create something that has a specific purpose. You can even incorporate technology in here and have them take pictures of their group's progress.
Students can incorporate measuring, formulas, game creation, or design techniques into their math station work. These types of activities teach students practical ways math works for students and reinforces real-world skills.
If you have a fifth station, you can always add some art into the mix. Art can be something your students do digital, something they draw, or a craft that requires steps to create correctly. Whatever you decide to do here can incorporate any of the above stations, like drawing a blueprint or creating a 3-D model out of clay.
Whatever you decide to do in each station, make sure your students are getting the chance to ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve in some way.
Exit Ticket Out of Fun Friday STEM Centers
Remember, you want your students to learn something while they are enjoying themselves. A simple exit slip that asks three questions is a great place to start. For example, you can ask your students what they learned, what they found interesting, and questions they may have.
Why Fun Friday STEM Centers are a Hit!
Fun Friday might sound like a lot of work for a little reward, but the bonus is truly incredible. Why? Students are enjoying learning, which is so essential for students as they grow. They are also getting a chance to discuss critical STEM skills. Plus, you can teach them about different STEM careers they may have never heard about before.
Plus, as students get the hang of the procedure for Fun Friday, you may find time to pull small groups or get a bit of work done that is forever piling up on your desk.
Sound like a plan? Download my FREE Fun Friday STEM Center Guide to get started below.
If you are ready to jump right in – check out my DONE FOR YOU Fun Friday STEM Center so students can learn about the design process by clicking the image.
Adding a little creativity and fun to your week is what students need to succeed. So, while you may be thinking I don't have enough time, remember you do! By implementing Fun Friday into your centers, you will have a class full of strong learners who are itching to get some fun hands-on experience with all things STEM. And you might be able to go home and enjoy your family.