Dear Caring Adult,

Welcome to MIT’s Full STEAM Ahead!! My name is Dr. Pascha. Working with young children is absolutely what I love. I am so excited to work with you and your child this week. Your help is very important in facilitating their learning. It’s going to be a week full of fun, excitement, learning, and adventures and I can’t wait to get started! Feel free to share what you are doing in the Full STEAM Ahead forum. We are here to support your child and you.

Today, we’ll read a book called Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons by Dr. Arlyne Simon and work on a Problems to Solve list. Before the activity, please print out a copy of the Problems to Solve or have a piece of paper ready.  Watch the video.

Here are some tips for you working with your child on today’s activity:

  • It’s OK if you don’t have the book. We have recorded me reading the first part of the book in Video 1. In the video, I read slowly and show the pages. We will read the first part of it together on the video, which describes how Abby found the invention problem that bothered her—crayons always break. 
  • After watching Video 1, discuss with your child: 
    • What happened? Who did Abby meet in class? 
    • What did Inventor Maya Smartt invent?
    • What problem did Abby want to solve? How did she find the problem?
  • Next, talk to your child: “Now sit back and think about what problems you want to solve. Just like Abby found the problem with her crayons, do you have any problems that you want to solve? Or anything that you want to improve so it works better?”
  • Encourage your child to think about problems that they want to solve. Ask your child to think of several problems. Take notes of your child’s problems on a piece of paper. 
  • Many kids may not be sure how to write problems, especially invention problems. In Video 2 we recorded me writing a Problems to Solve list. Watch the video together with your child. 
  • Help your child write down their problems on the Problems to Solve worksheet.
  • Encourage your child to find more than five problems. Can they find ten? Look around the home, ask other family members or friends, and communicate with grandparents. Everyone has problems they would like to have solved.
  • Save the Problems to Solve worksheet so you are ready for Day 2 activities.  
  • If you are interested in knowing more about the Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons book, this page has a video about the book and the author.

I hope you’ll have fun finding invention problems with your child. You may be surprised what problems your child finds! 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Pascha