Gratitude towers are an excellent social-emotional learning STEM activity to incorporate into your classroom. Gratitude is such an important skill to teach students. Studies show that when students practice expressing their feelings, they have higher levels of optimism, increased life satisfaction, and decreased negative feelings. Additionally, students who regularly express gratitude appreciate close relationships and feel better about their life and school. I can’t think of a better way to teach students about the value of gratitude than with this fun project!
Gratitude is part of CASEL’s Social-Emotional Learning Framework. It falls under the Social Awareness competency. Social awareness is the ability to recognize the feelings of others. When taught social awareness skills, students learn to demonstrate compassion and empathy as well as understand end express gratitude.
- Index Cards
Using the Engineer Design Process, students can follow the steps below to build their towers.
- Give your students a stack of index cards.
- Have your students write one thing they are thankful for on each index card. If they need more index cards, give them more.
- Have your students get into groups of two or three.
- Have them brainstorm and sketch how they are going to build a tower with their index cards.
- Using tape and index cards, allow students to build their tower. The more things they are thankful for, the taller their tower will be.
- Allow students to reflect on what they would do differently next time, and then discuss some of the things they are thankful for.
The Gratitude Towers
At a recent conference, participants had the opportunity to build gratitude towers. As a result, they created some very cool structures. Take a look at how they began to design their towers.
For more ideas on how to incorporate gratitude activities in your classroom check out this blog.