Fine Motor Fridays - Creating STEM Learning Resources in the classroom

by Nathan Van Der Monde@mrvandermonde

Fine Motor Fridays - Creating STEM Learning Resources in the classroom

In Australian education, our school curricula can feel overcrowded, over-planned and overwhelming. The first things to be dropped off the end of the week of Reading, Writing and Mathematics activities are hands on craft and Art-based tasks that build and maintain fine-motor skills, as well as developing problem solving skills, patience, team work, and creativity - the things that make us human.

To combat this I have built a regular time slot into my weekly learning program for these integral creative and STEM style tasks that I call 'Fine Motor Fridays' which can include a range of activities such as cardboard construction projects, weaving, dream catchers, beading, pom pom and tassel making, embroidery, and so many others! Students love the mindful aspect of taking time to create something or build a skill they didn't have previously, but also they also thrive in an open-ended, magical world of colour and endless possibility.

The Kids Getting Creative For Fine Motor Fridays

The kids taking time to create something and build skills on Fine Motor Fridays.

Fine Motor Fridays (FMF) have become such a staple of the week that students bring in their own craft and construction materials from home, ready for their team or individual projects at the end of the week.
I can see a definite improvement in students' fine-motor abilities over time, and this translates into their letter formation and handwriting, but also into their concentration and mindful approach to all tasks.

Fine Motor Fridays Lessons

Setting up your own Fine Motor Fridays style lessons.

To set up your Fine Motor Fridays style lesson, I would suggest some serious online inspiration time spent on Pinterest and Instagram, and then start compiling a 'Maker Station' or craft supply area with some of the following:

This gives you enough materials to do a huge range of tasks, and creates a sense of wonder and excitement even before you begin your Fine-Motor Friday sessions.

I am a huge believer in making learning fun and enjoyable, so weaving some of these STEM and craft based projects into your other learning areas is another way of increasing the engagement and enjoyment students get in your classroom learning environment, but also the amount of content they retain. Having fun and doing hands on activities while learning many concepts, particularly abstract ones, gives students a way of anchoring their stream of daily learning onto something memorable and relatable.

A Mexican God's Eye Using Wool & Wooden Dowelling Rod

The students made a Mexican "God's Eye", using wool and wooden dowelling rods, to learn fractions.

For example, when teaching fractions I got students to make a Mexican "God's Eye" using wool and wooden dowelling rods. We all measured out a one meter length of coloured wool. This was our "whole." Next, I had them measure out two half lengths in another colour, quarter lengths in another, etc. and then tie all of these different coloured, different length pieces together to create their craft project. So, Maths was embedded within the creation of something beautiful. All the while, students had to tie knots and weave the pieces of wool in between the rods, again building and maintaining their fine motor abilities.

I really believe that craft and STEM based learning tasks should be a central part of every learning space. And if you haven't done so already, try including an activity like one of these in your classroom and just take note of how much of an opportunity it provides for students to improve their social, emotional, skill-based, and fine-motor abilities.

Nathan Van Der Monde Is A Melbourne-Based Primary School Teacher & Education Content Creator

Nathan Van Der Monde is a Melbourne-based primary school teacher and education content creator. You can follow him on Instagram at @mrvandermonde




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