Putting up STEM questions and activities on the bathroom wall is a great use of available space, while at the same time capitalizing on a captive audience.
With spring finally arriving, this month’s Bathroom STEM theme was flowers. I located, labeled, printed and laminated pictures of several flowers that children were likely to encounter locally .
For some math-based questions I hung a poster asking “How many yellow flowers are there? How many purple flowers? How many red flowers? How many flowers in all?” I purposefully included a tri-color violet (which I grew up calling a johnny-jump-up) in one of the pictures so that children would have to decide if it counted as a purple flower, a yellow flower, or both.
My other goal with this display was to increase children’s awareness of types of flowers. Though these are all flowers that are grown in this area, children may not be aware of their specific names. The hope is that questions such as “Have you ever seen these flowers in your yard? In your neighborhood? At the library?” will inspire children to be on the lookout for new fauna, and will then use their new vocabulary to help identify the flowers. Obviously the children will need to either read the labels, or be in the bathroom with someone else who can read. However, I find that non-readers are generally young enough that parents often accompany them into the bathroom in a public place such as the library.