5 Inexpensive Resources for STEM materials and a Freebie!

Welcome to my Getting Started with STEAM series!  If this is your first visit be sure to check out my other posts:
What is STEAM?
5 Components of a STEAM Lesson
Essential Engineering Process
Starting a STEAM program in your classroom or at your school can be overwhelming especially the cost.  However there are resources available for little to no cost that can have a BIG impact. STEAM doesn't have to be expensive Robots and 3-D printers to be effective. Popsicle sticks and straws are just as useful!  Many of these items can be gotten for free by asking parents nicely for donations. 
But if you don't get what you need from parent donations here are 5 free or inexpensive ways to build your STEAM material supply!
For around $10 you can load up on several products at Dollar Tree or the Dollar Store
Items such as straws, paper plates, coffee filters, pipe cleaners, brads, balloons, marbles, plastic spoons, plastic baggies, cotton balls and more!
Recyclable materials that people want to get rid of are FREE! Take up a collection at your school!
Card stock scraps, bottle lids, paper towel rolls, fabric, ribbon and yarn scraps, as well as cardboard boxes, cereal and other food containers provide lots of materials for no money at all!
Also check out thrift stores and yard sales for inexpensive or less expensive toy items such as KNEX, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Gears sets, Marble Run sets, blocks and more!
Using your 40% off coupon at craft stores can help you build up a supply of cardstock, popsicle sticks, clay or playdough and pipe cleaners.
Even the hardware store has supplies! Think nuts and bolts and washers! All of those are fairly inexpensive!
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If you do have some more money to spend here are some products I have used in my classroom or that my own children have and LOVE for STEAM! I have added Amazon affiliate links so they are easy to add to your cart. Simply click the pictures!
Zoob Builders with STEM challenges
Both my students and own personal children LOVE these! This set in particular comes with 5 instruction books with different things to build, 26 STEM challenge cards, 175 Zoob building pieces and more!  These were a great deal when I bought them so hurry and click and see if they still are! (I'm talking like half off!) 
Snap Circuits
My son received the arcade set for Christmas and absolutely loves them but this is a great school set with excellent science connections for STEAM!  It has 100 projects!  We have several of these on loan from the local university and the students love them as well! I wish I would have had them when I taught 4th grade electricity!!!!!!
this is the most expensive on the list but they are AMAZING! I got lucky and got a really good deal on some for my daughter for Christmas and she LOVES them (so much that I ended up buying more at a much higher price). The Math connections with these are worth the price in my book. The same day she got them my daughter laid out flat the pieces for a cube and then pushed it together and said look a cube! She was almost 5 at the time!! Younger children love using these to build because of the magnets holding them together allow for more stable construction.  The ones linked are the best deal at the time I wrote this - I will try to update if I see deals!

If you've made it this far you deserve a freebie. Sign up below to get a free printable materials list to send home with students to ask parents for supplies!


The Engineering Process and How it Works in the Classroom

Welcome back to my series on STEAM.  To read the first two posts you can click the links below.
What is STEAM?
5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson
Ah the E in STEAM, the Engineering Process, to me this is the most integral and essential piece of STEAM.  Science, Technology, Arts and Math are all options to pull in but the heart of STEAM lies with Engineering.
As I mentioned in my 5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson the engineering process is essential.
I like to introduce the Engineering Process with a book (I am an ELA girl at heart), Rosie Revere, Engineer. The book is about a little girl who loves to invent crazy gadgets and gizmos. She collects "stuff" to make her creations, one day she makes her uncle a hat which he says he loves but he laughs at it and it hurts Rosie's feelings so she hides her inventions away until one day when her Aunt Rose comes to visit.  Will Rosie be able to create a flying machine for her aunt?  Or will she give up? I absolutely LOVE this book, it actually made me cry the first time I read it because it is my middle child to a T! He is my inventing, junk collecting, tinker!  You may have a "Rosie" in your life or classroom!  
Click on the picture to go straight to put it in your cart on Amazon! (Affiliate link)
We read the book and do all of the great ELA activities I created to go with it!  These are just three of them! There are several more including sequencing, beginning, middle, end, a Venn Diagram and more!

Then we start talking about the engineering process!  How engineers solve problems and they create solutions and test them out and then make them even better!!! The kids really get it using this book! I have included and Engineering Invention planning guide for you to use with your students as well! It really gets them thinking about the Engineering Process and Inventions.

We also do our first STEAM challenge after reading this book.  The challenge is to create a "Flying Machine" just like Rosie does in the book.
If you would like to grab this Reader Response Unit to introduce the engineering process you can click the picture below.

This really sets the tone for the year with our STEAM lessons including the Engineering Process and using a Growth Mindset all year long!

I have the Engineering Process up on our STEAM bulletin board as well.

to grab it and the other STEAM posters click the picture below!

Be sure to check back soon for another STEAM post! Thanks for stopping by!