The end of the year is quickly approaching (well, most days!) and the anticipation our students are feeling continues to grow. It seems that with each sunny day their attention span is fleeting. Rather than dance on my head, I’ve gotten creative with some fun ways to spice up the end of the year.
One of my absolute favorites is making smores ovens. These are perfect for meeting the engineering and design process standards. Not to mention, a great addition to classroom camp day; the perfect way to end the year.
All you need to get started is my FREE Smores Stem Project.The rest is pure fun because it gets students thinking and using the engineering and design process to create a melted Smore! Talk about motivation…food!!! YUM!
How to Make S’Mores Ovens
I always begin with activating their background knowledge. We start with discussing who has tried a smore before, what it tastes like, and how it is made. We also discuss the various methods to making them: stove top, fire, and microwave and how it impacts the way they look and taste. Then, I challenge them to think of how we could make one at school if none of those methods were made available to them. The ideas are hilarious!
Then I pump them up by telling them they will get the opportunity to make their very own smore at school. And yes, they can eat it (the number one question I receive after announcing this fun activity– I mean who can blame them?). Then I share how we plan to do it with our own made ovens.
Now for fun! I get kids together in groups to brainstorm how their oven will look, if the cover will be open or closed, where they will position it outside, if it should have direct or indirect sunlight, if they should use foil, what other materials would be necessary, and so much more. The conversation is about as rich as the chocolate in the smores!! I love it!!
Then, I let them go for it! They begin designing in a way that is pure, discovery based, and unscaffolded. They put all of their ideas into action and set it out to begin its job. I also have them visit their ovens in 15 minute intervals to record their findings in their journal. Again, the conversation is incredible!! If you want to set students up with more of the “how” you can use a more scaffolded approach. I love this video for guiding the design process and the explanation behind each step too!
Whether you use a scaffolded or unscaffolded approach, the discussion (over a fantastic snack) afterwards is so fun! The observations and ideas for how they would approach it differently next time are amazing. I’ll bet nearly half of your class goes home and makes one with their family– it is THAT fun! Happy snacking and happy baking!
DM me on Instagram @thatteachingspark or tag me in a picture to show off your kids building their smores ovens!