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Innovation in Teaching Competition - Beyond the Textbook

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Exploring STEM Through Stuffed Animals

Debi Goodman
Shallowford Falls Elementary
Cobb County Schools

Grade Level and Content

Mathematics, English Language Arts, and Science


This ten-day kindergarten STEM unit incorporates English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and science standards and requires students to work collaboratively and use critical thinking skills. Students bring their own stuffed animals to school, sort their animals in different ways (movement, covering, and habitat), compare and contrast their stuffed animals to others in the class, and learn about baby animals. Students also complete the Can You Guess My Animal? Project – requiring them to incorporate facts about their animal into a riddle.  Towards the end of the unit, students work collaboratively to engineer different shaped pens for their animals using a variety of materials, including Popsicle sticks, paper clips, play dough, pipe cleaners and yarn.

Standards Addressed

M.K.G.5; M.K.CC.4b; M.K.CC.7; M.K.MD.3

English Language Arts


Available Materials

Unit Overview with Standards
Supplementary Materials
Formative Assessment Grading Rubric

Video of Lesson

> Download this Video (To save right-click then select 'Save target as' or 'Save link as')

About the Teacher

Debi Goodman is currently a Kindergarten teacher at Shallowford Falls Elementary School in Marietta, GA. She holds a B.S. in Education from James Madison University and has over 16 years of teaching experience in both Kindergarten and 2nd grade. Ms. Goodman was also the 2008/2009 Shallowford Falls Elementary Teacher of the Year. Her best piece of teaching advice is: Don’t be afraid to try new things - change is good!

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Disclaimer: The unit plans and materials on the Innovation in Teaching Competition website are aligned with Georgia’s standards through December 2014. English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards have been revised. The revised standards were approved by the State Board of Education on January 15, 2015. The revised ELA and Mathematics standards were renamed from the CCGPS to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE).

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