Monday, January 9, 2017

Motivate the Unmotivated

I have a great group of kids this year, but they are not very motivated.  They will begin their work when reminded, but they are often off task so it takes them forever to complete anything.  I tried several different approaches but none of them worked until I implemented STEM bins.  This has been a life changer for me!

I purchased several different kinds of building materials for my kids.  I also went through my stash I already had at school.  I put each material in a different plastic container with a lid for easy storage and clean up.  
When students finish up their work, they are allowed to choose a STEM bin.  They can build anything they want (as long as it's school appropriate.)  If they need ideas, I found some great STEM task cards on TpT.  I had to put a limit to no more than 2 students per STEM bin to help with noise.  They can get a little loud while they are creating!  Here are some of the amazing things they made just before our Christmas break.

horse barn

gear tower



flying craft



This has changed how quickly my students complete their work. My students stay on task and stay focused.  They cannot wait to get their hands on the STEM bins.  I am so glad that I implemented this new system in my class!



  1. It can be so hard sometimes when they just don't want to work. I have never found one thing that just works for all but some good tips :)

    I do love the idea of a STEM bin!

  2. I rried something like this! The bad news is, my kids enjoyed it so much that they would NOT give it up when it was time to work again! I literally had to pry things out of their hands and then stand back while they threw the room apart! I've now limited their most "fun" choices to before lunch and before going home, but I wish I could offer them those choices more often.

    1. I had the same problem with a few of my kids, too. When they wouldn't clean up quickly, they couldn't choose a STEM bin the next time they earned it. I reminded them why they lost the privilege and how they can earn it the next time.

  3. Karla, I love your ideas on how to motivate these students. The pictures are proof that they are loving this motivator. I know I have to motivate myself to do my work and so I know these students have struggles completing their work due to lack of motivation. What a great, hands on, educational idea to keep them motivated and BUSY!

  4. Karla, I love this idea on how to motivate these students. Hands on activities that are teaching, while motivating them to finish previous work, and educating them is the perfect combination. I will be purchasing these for my classroom!


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