Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds is one of my favorite fall children's book that offers a perfect opportunity for kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers to engage their students in a STEM lesson that incorporates writing, reading, and science. I love when my students use everyday materials like toilet paper tubes, popsicle sticks, Jenga blocks, and more to build a carrot corral that keeps Jasper the bunny out.
Here are seven engaging ideas for your STEM lesson with a carrot twist.
Reading and Comprehension:
I start by reading Creepy Carrots aloud to the class. There is also an amazing video on youtube that has great movement and sound effects. I discuss the story and its characters, emphasizing the problem of Jasper the bunny stealing carrots. Then I encourage my students to predict how they could solve this problem using STEM. We use an anchor chart to focus on the story map including the problem and solution.
Writing Connections Activity:
I have my kiddos write a short story or you can have them even write a comic strip that showcases an alternative solution to the carrot problem in the book. I love to have them focus on the two different perspectives that are in the book, from the carrots’ point of view compared to Jasper’s. Before we write we talk about the two different points of you and then they can choose one of them to write their short story.
Creative Writing Alternative:
Want another writing alternative? How about some creative writing. I like to ask students to write a persuasive letter to Jasper, explaining why he should stop taking the carrots and suggesting an alternative snack. We create a list of healthy snacks as well as healthy vegetables that we could eat. We then use the cubes and the basket included in the free meat to make vegetables and add them to our harvest basket. This activity promotes persuasive writing and critical thinking.
I like to teach my students about the growth and development of carrots. We are fortunate to be able to have a School Garden, where we can grow carrots in the spring each year. We grow creepy carrots. This is a perfect opportunity to share the ideal conditions for carrot growth, the lifecycle of a carrot, and the part of the carrot plant that we eat it’s a perfect way to springboard into another science lesson about different plants in the parts we eat, such as lettuce leaves tomatoes, which are the fruit and broccoli, which is the flower. You can have the students plant their own carrot seeds in small containers to observe the growth process. If you are unable to grow your own carrots, grab some from the farmers market or the grocery store and use real carrots in your discussion.
Measurement and Math:
Now let’s use those carrots in a measurement of activity. Challenge students to measure the size and dimensions of a real carrot. If that is some thing you cannot do I’ve got you covered. Grab our creepy carrots Freebie with 9 carats to measure in a variety of tiered sheets that you can use also included is a stem activity using cubes to create the perfect healthy snack. Find your Creepy Carrot Measurement Freebie HERE!
Engineering and Design:
Each year I do this STEM activity my students love it! I provide my students with materials such as toilet paper tubes, popsicle sticks, Jenga blocks, and other craft supplies. Take a look at these amazing examples of our creepy carrot corrals. Instruct your students to design a carrot corral using these materials, ensuring it's sturdy enough to keep Jasper out or the carrots in.
Testing and Improvement:
Once the carrot corrals are built, as well as any other STEM lesson is complete we always test their creation as well as share out. We use a carrot pattern or you can place a toy bunny or a picture of Jasper next to the corral. I encourage my students to make improvements to their designs based on their observations before we share out, this is a perfect opportunity to teach students how to modify and adjust their design.
By using Creepy Carrots as a starting point, you can create a fun and educational STEM lesson for kindergarten through fifth-grade students that integrates it all! This project not only helps develop their creativity and problem-solving skills but also teaches them about the growth of carrots. Plus, it's a fantastic opportunity to engage young minds in the wonderful world of STEM by building carrot corrals and making connections.
Thanks for joining me in the School Yard! Don't forget to head on over to the Science School Yard for more Science and STEM ideas!