Strawbees Classroom is the online platform for teachers who are bringing Strawbees STEM toys to their students for hands-on, creative learning. This guide walks you through the available student resources and teacher support materials on the platform.
Your Personalized Dashboard
When you first open Strawbees Classroom, you’ll be presented with the Dashboard, your own personalized homepage. Here is where you can find tips, relevant information, and the latest news from the Strawbees team about these educational toys.
The Library & Types of Resources
The library is the main hub for all Strawbees content. Here you have access to courses, lessons, activities, teacher support materials, and video channels from Strawbees staff. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what to expect in each of these areas.
Courses are collections of resources (also called lessons) designed for students and grouped by theme or curriculum. Each of the resources has a teacher-view and a student-view. All resources are listed sequentially so students can easily progress through them. You’ll also see a list of curriculum standards and compatible Strawbees STEM kits inside each of the courses.
Lessons are curriculum-aligned guided experiences that present information and activities to students in a way that’s fun and easy to follow. These can be assigned to students, added to personalized courses, shared with a link, or added to your list of favorites for later. Lessons are broken down into several smaller steps to make it more approachable for students.
Activities are where the learning gets hands-on. Each activity walks students through a series of steps and building instructions to design a model that satisfies the prompt. They may be group activities with inventor kits where students compete to design the tallest structure or individual projects like creating a winged insect or animating a cardboard T-rex.
Teacher Support provides professional learning articles that discuss facilitation and teaching strategies. You’ll also find informative webinars to help get the most out of Strawbees, and some guides that share the best instructional practices for a successful lesson.
Channels are featured videos from Strawbees staff and partners, including professional development and classroom activities. There are two main series currently available.
Playinars are PD webinars led by Lindsay Balfour, Head of Education at Strawbees. These videos share teaching strategies in a hands-on workshop format and include related student resources and support articles. They help you strengthen the STEAM and creative learning experiences with Strawbees educational toys.
The School of Ridiculous Inventions features Strawbees inventor and co-founder Erik Thorstensson. In these videos he shares the creative design process with STEM projects that can be replicated in the classroom and other things you can create with Strawbees. Your students will be inspired and encouraged to learn more about engineering and STEM toys.
How Lessons are Structured
Each of the lessons is divided into three distinct sections: Preparation, Presentation, and Additional Resources. You also have access to a variety of tools for saving, sharing, and assigning lessons to students.
Preparing to Teach
Each lesson plan has a teacher view and a student view. When you open the lesson as a teacher, you’ll see blue scholar hats in the middle column which identify areas of the outline that are only available to you.
In the Materials section, you’ll find a list of what STEM kits your students need before presenting them with the lesson.
Under Facilitation and Collaboration Work, you’ll see strategies for facilitating group work during the lesson.
Preparation and Prior Knowledge provides information on what concepts and vocabulary students should already be familiar with before beginning the lesson.
Presentation to Students
The Warm-Up and Imagine sections are designed to help students build interest and curiosity about the topic. Informative text and graphics give context for the material, and teacher notes are included throughout to mention or discuss. Students will also be presented with interactive questions to assess their understanding of the material presented so far.
During the Create section, students are presented with hands-on activities. An image of the structure to be designed along with a list of the pieces required from the inventor kits helps ease students into a simple exercise.
In Build, their creations come to life. They’ll watch a short video and continue with building instructions.
Reflect helps students draw conclusions from the information learned and outcomes of their structures’ performance.
In Challenges, students can further their knowledge by reading from a list of topics, career connections, and stories of related real-world prompts.
References and Extra Resources includes media credits, citations, and supplemental articles to develop your own knowledge or share with students.
Assets are extra guides and student journals that encourage students to reflect on their ideas after the lesson through reading, writing, and drawing. You can assign these in Google Classroom or download to your computer and distribute accordingly.
Strawbees STEM Products for Schools
There are a variety of other features available within the Strawbees Classroom platform including favoriting resources, creating your own courses, filtering through content types, and a help center if you have questions about these educational toys and STEM kits.