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Make Your Own STEM Teachers Tub

Dec 01, 2021


Lisa Hoffman

If you didn't get a chance to catch this live on Instagram then I hav it here for you to playback.  Its chock full of early years STEM tips and tricks so you may need to watch it twice! I have the time stamp below the video so you can find the information your looking for more easily and I'll also pop some Amazon affiliate links in for easy access to products if you want to build your own STEM Tub. Of course you can always purchase it pre-made from the Happy Explorers Tub to save you the hassle.

Right below that you will find the transcribed version of the video, you know, if you're more the reader type or you're sitting on the bus and don't have ear buds. Stay cool STEM friend. 


Here's the transcribed copy of the video, it has been modified to read better - Speaker Lisa. 

Hey guys, I'm here today to talk about early years Teacher STEM tubs. This is one that I have created over time through trial and error and I have in my classroom cupboard as a resource to use. The items in in the tub can be used by students, but essentially this tub is a resource for myself to provide STEM situations for the children without any prep.

As you know, I work in the pre-kinder aged category within the classroom, and I work with kindergarten aged children in workshops and incursions as well. I've tested everything thats in this tub with this age group and the items can be used by the children with supervision. But ultimately this is a tub that I keep for myself so that I can grab things out on the go, and put stem into any situation to create STEM experiences.

So let's just jump straight into what's inside this tub so you can start building your own. You will be able to purchase these items from most places. Amazon is a great resource for this type of stuff and I'll link the products below for you to access with ease. You can also purchase the complete tub for the Happy Explorer shop.

Full Tub:

Affiliate Links:

So first up, is a bit of a favourite, a clip on microscope. If you have an iPad in your classroom, this is an excellent STEM addition to pop onto your iPad's camera lens and explore objects at a different size. All you need to do is squeeze the clip open and pop in over the camera lens, adjust the focus and look a the the screen.

It has a sponge around the clip so it wont scratch the lens. It's a really good STEM tool that zooms to about 60x. You can pop it onto whatever surface you like and great things to look at are leave, clothing, and skin. Here's some examples of what they will look like. I took these photos on the iPad while looking with the kids in outdoor play. 


looking at a leaf through a clip on microscope


jumper through the clip on microscope


Skin under clip microscope


One of the great things about this is that they can all look at the iPad screen while you're holding it. So it can be an activity that you can do in small groups. You can also allow the children to hold the iPad and take photos themselves, tuning this into a useful technology lesson. 

There are two lights on the microscope, one is a normal white light and the other is a black light. To normal light increases the light on the object you are looking at, which helps you to be able to see it better. The other is a black light, which helps some objects glow brighter if they contain a fluorescent nature. Looking at clothing is amazing as you can see in the photo above. You can actually see the individual threads webbing together. Sometimes they look like plats and sometimes it look like a cross pattern. 

Another very cool thing to look at is skin. Everybody wants to see their skin and the hairs coming off their skin. You might be doing this kind of activity for a whole play session. 

Ok, next item in the STEM Teacher Tub is the blacklight pen. I have five of them in the Tub so I can offer them to small groups of 5 at a time. They are a great for fine motor activity in themselves and offer the ability to extend on other craft activities you might do. Because you can make any creation glow in the dark. This offers you a way to engage the kids that may not gravitate towards the craft table natural an opportunity to explore. If you tell some children that they can make their drawings glow, they might just be interested.

The next item in the STEM Teacher Tub is the blacklight pens. I have 5 of them in the Tub so I can offer them to small groups of children at one time. These pens are a great for fine motor activities while offering the ability to add science explorations into craft projects you might be doing, because you can make any creation glow in the

This tool also offers you a way to engage the kids that don't usually come to the craft table natural an opportunity to explore. It works like this, you are doing a fine motor activity and the children are cutting and colour an activity and you want Chris to come to the table and participate. Chris say 'No, I don't want to do the activity', which is usual response to this type of play. You know that you would like to help Chris improve his fine motor skills and help him reach his development milestone and grow his self confidence to create. You decide to give it another shot and say 'we're going to make these glow in the dark at the end by using our special lights. Do you want to do that'? Chris agrees that it is a good idea and you have helped him engage in the activity by adding something more interesting to him... STEM explorations.

Next is the sticky tape. I know you guys will already have this so I'm going going to share how I use it in a sustainable way in the classroom. In my Pre-Kinder class, I have sticky tape dispensers out all the time. When the kids are doing drawing, I encourage lots of details so they're not going through paper so quickly and when they're finished, I bring out the sticky tape to extend the creations of their drawings. An activity like that can go on for hours and suits all ages. Here you're not just extending and scaffolding the learning, you're reducing waist, allowing for engineering opportunities and allowing for fee play and exploration. Things the children have made is train tacks, books, ramps and tunnels.

Alrighty, next is glass prism. So this is one you're going to need to be a little bit careful with, because it is glass. It doesn't really break and I've never had any issues with it but is is glass so common sense and precautions like no running with it need to be in place. When I get this out, my eyes are always on

There are two ways to use the prism, one is inside and the other is outside. Outside you can literally play let's chase rainbow.


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