10 Cross Curriculum Design Thinking/Makerspace Lessons K-5 Dr.Daniel Downs & Kathy Dasho



Snap Circuits:

Third graders built dozens of different circuits with our Snap Circuit Jr. kits including: bulbs, motors, alarms, music, speakers, wires, etc.  Not only did students learn about circuitry, but they also practiced the important skill of reading an instruction manual.




Lego Wedo –

Lesson 1: (What is the Engineering Design Process?) Build a sturdy animal that can move like its reallife counterpart.
Lesson 2: (What Is a Robot?) Build a robotic animal. (It can have wheels like a vehicle and use crafts or recycled materials to give it the appearance of the chosen animal.)
Lesson 3: (What is Programming?) This song (or another of your choosing) is a fun and concrete way to start the unit regardless of the theme.
Lesson 4: (What are Repeats?) Program animals (maybe at a zoo) to visit each other along different paths.
Lesson 5: (What are Sensors?) Animals have many senses just like people do, so this activity can be adapted in all sorts of ways. As examples, animals might do an action until (or when) someone pets them (touch sensor) or when someone gives them food (the food might cover a light sensor tomake it dark).

Lego Beebots:  Geography activity, create a streetscape, label with environmental print  and program your Beebot to go through your neighborhood. Next, program your Beebot to go to a corresponding location.

3) Engineering

Bridge Building: Build a table with newspaper or

Students read the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff in their class.  In STEM, they had to design an alternative way for the goats to get from one side of the bridge to the other since the troll was blocking the bridge.  Students created catapults, zip lines, etc. for the goats to cross from one giant spool (from telephone wire) to another.

Gingerbread Man: This  project was the first one that the kindergarteners were asked to use the engineering design process.  However, because they were kindergarteners, there was some imagination involved in testing the traps.  The students designed, created, and tested a trap to catch the gingerbread man out of any building material they wanted (Legos, k’nex, blocks, etc.).))


Little Bugs:Prior to reading an informational text about insects in their classrooms, in STEM students studied plastic bugs to see what all bugs have in common.  Then they built bugs out of recycled materials.  Bugs had to have 6 legs and be free-standing.

4) Arts(Visual)/Music:

Designosaurs: First graders created Designosaurs based on their answers to various questions.  (Example: Do you prefer meat or vegetables?  If meat, draw sharp teeth on your designosaur… If veggies, draw flat ones.)  Each designosaur turned out very different!  Then we used our Designosaurs to create giant pictographs on the floor!  This activity went along with the dinosaur story, The Big Circle that the first graders were reading in class this week.

Green Screening:

Back in Time Lesson: Students use iPads to film commercials about the New England Colonies highlighting the main aspects of what each colony offers in terms of enviroment, products, etc. The green screen will be used for showing the different colony backgrounds.

5) Math/Computer Science

Lightbot QR game: First the students played LightBot to learn how to code a maze.  Then they found “clues” (wooden blocks with a plastic robot glued in certain patterns) around the school.  They had to write the code (in LightBot style) for each clue.  With each clue, there was multiple choice of three codes each with a QR code.  Scanning each code, the students were told if their answer was correct or not

Jack and the Beanstalk: Kindergarteners learned about balance and counting with this activity.  First, they listened to an interactive version of Jack and the Beanstalk on an iPad app.  Next, they balanced beans on top of a beanstalk made from a paper towel roll and a paper plate. After they had tried it five times, they used a pan balance to find out which group of beans were the largest. Then, they took their heaviest group and divided it into piles of 10. Finally we counted by 10s to find the total number of beans then graphed each group’s score on a giant beanstalk!

English Language Arts(Storytelling) –

Beringia  –  5th grade Students use Scratch to tell illustrate, program and tell the story of the Beringia theory, the land bridge that connected Russia to Alaska. After learning the basics of Scratch programming, students work in groups to tell the theory of the land bridge and how it connected Russia to Alaska allowing people and animals to migrate to North America.

Digital Citizenship with ToonDoo: After watching Brainpop movies about digital citizenship and cyberbullying, 5th grade students use the website Toondoo to create comic strips showing their knowledge about the topic.

Project Based Learning With Technology






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