After being inspired by the ever creative Hope King and Amy Lemons at Get Your Teach On this past summer, we decided to make Andy’s room come to life in 6th grade this year. On a budget, we created a room transformation that had the kids excited to learn about the engineering and design process.
I know room transformations look scary and expensive, but I’m here to tell you that with a little creativity (and the Dollar Tree) you can make this happen without much cost at all! I tried my best to recreate Andy’s room by creating things out of construction paper and crayons- low cost. I mean, this is a kid’s room after all…it doesn’t have to be perfect! For this reason, I started by creating the large Etch-A-Sketch around my screen with red butcher paper from school, and I traced the logo with my projector. I also created the large dice with old boxes, white butcher paper and black marker. The big legos are made from cereal boxes covered in construction paper, and the army men, martians, monkeys and clouds were all traced and cut from butcher paper and poster board as well. I then used construction paper and crayons to create my own versions of the different characters on poster paper. (Even my husband and two year old got in on the coloring!)
There were a few items that I purchased, but the costs were minimal. The blue back drops were table cloths from Dollar Tree (but you could also use blue butcher paper). The lego themed table cloths were also purchased from Dollar Tree for just $1 each. The large lego backdrop was from Amazon, and can be found here: Lego Backdrop. I also picked up the large Sharpie pool float on Summer clearance, but it is available on Amazon here: Sharpie Pool Float. Cowboy hats and green army men hats were from the Dollar Tree while they had Halloween costumes- but those were totally a splurge.
Set The Stage
Be sure to set the stage before each challenge to really get the kids excited! You can dress in costume, play Toy Story music and create a story line for each of the challenges that aligns with the movie.
Don’t forget the ever popular, “ANDY’S COMING!” call and response, which was popularized in many Disney theme parks. When you say this, everyone falls to the table and freezes in order to not get caught by Andy. This will give you, as the teacher, a way to get your kids’ attention and keep their hands off the materials.
Dressing up is also a fun way to create excitement around these lessons. You can easily create outfits from clothing you already have, or there are some great costumes on Amazon for fairly cheap. I personally loved my Jessie costume and would wear it to pick my kids up from specials. Walking around the school like that sure did create a buzz with the other kids! “What are you doing?” “Can I come see!” “This looks like fun!” You can find a few of the costumes here: Jessie , Woody, Buzz, Mr Potato Head .
MONEY SAVING TIP: Send out a parent email or ask students to bring in some of the supplies that you will need. Parents are bound to have Legos, Lego baseplates, play-doh, green army men, and Barrel of Monkeys games that they are willing to let you borrow. Get creative and don’t be afraid to ask!
If you’re curious about the challenges we had our students complete, well… here are some pictures to hold you over. But you should definitely attend Get Your Teach On and get the whole experience yourself! They have a whole session on STEAM Mania and you will definitely walk away inspired. For now my advice is, think of challenges you can complete that require easily accessible toys and supplies from a child’s room. This is your time to shine and come up with something meaningful for your class!
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