STEM/STEAM learning is important in moving students forward toward a better, more successful tomorrow. STEM occupations, such as green power creators, automated robot system repair technicians, drone technicians, space explorers, 3D printing engineers, and more, will soon be in high demand. Though many of these jobs don’t yet exist, preparing students for these essential roles starts today. That’s why bringing even simple STEM activities to the classroom now is more important than ever.
If you’re looking for more ways to get students engaged and learning (and have fun while doing it), here are eight simple STEM activities to help you get started.
1. Strawbees® STEAM Starter Kit (grades K+)
Teach the basic principles of design, building, and engineering with this introductory toolbox of pre-cut straws and connectors. Students can create simple machines, like a crane, swing, or see-saw, as well as geometric shapes and models enabling them to test the area and perimeter of their designs. You can even challenge students to design a new playground area for your school, and develop a budget and process to carry out the entire project.
2. KEVA® Brain Builders (grades 2–12)
Use engineering drawings and wooden KEVA® planks to demonstrate the balance, proportion, composition, and geometry of familiar objects. Students can build geometric objects of their own or convert 2D diagrams into 3D structures using the included puzzle cards.
3. Origami Circuit STEM/STEAM Project Kit (grades 3–12)
Combine the ancient Japanese paper art of origami with simple electronic circuits to create a hands-on STEM/STEAM activity that combines art, design, engineering, and basic electronics using solderless, flexible, durable, and conductive pathways with nylon-based Maker Tape™.
Final creations can move, such as a witch with accordion legs who dances when the battery, tape, and circuits are attached to her shoes. Or you can have students create a dancing robot that lights up and moves, or a vibrating 3D germ model to help students better understand germs and how they spread, like this example from Brown Dog Gadgets.
4. Individual Student Small Circuitry Kit (grades 3–12)
Much like the Origami Circuit STEM/STEAM Project Kit, this kit also demonstrates the basics of circuitry using simple paper circuits and easy-to-use conductive Maker Tape™. Students can create paper projects that light up and/or blink, like Valentine’s Day cards, birthday cards, and more. The kit includes multiple project ideas and can be easily sent home for distance learning or kept in the classroom for lab time.
5. STEM Starters Activity Kit: Balloon Cars (grades 3–9)
Get problem-solving wheels turning by having students build a balloon-powered vehicle. With this activity, you can conduct a classroom contest to see which student-built car has the best design, weighs the least amount, travels the farthest distance, or if students are really creative, what can be used to power the vehicle other than a balloon. This trial-and-error approach takes the fear out of making mistakes by exemplifying the engineering process.
6. Solar Bottle Boat Kit (grades 5–12)
Teach students how to harness the power of solar energy by designing propelled boats using solar panels and recycled bottles. With this activity, students can build a speed boat, airboat, or surface submarine. (Or challenge students to think outside the box by creating their own boat design.) Conduct a classroom contest to see which type of boat moves the fastest, farthest—or both!
7. Wall Coaster® Extreme Stunt Kit (grades 3–6)
Show students how to design and build multiple track variations on a wall from the ground up for marble-rolling stunts. Reusable fun tack allows tracks to adhere to almost any surface where they can be repositioned to make jump courses, loop-de-loops, zig-zags, and twists. Challenge students to build the fastest (or slowest) coaster using all the materials in the box, or create five jumps, specific target drops, and more.
8. Thames & Kosmos Wind Power Experiment Kit (grades 3 and up)
With this kit, students can conduct over 20 different experiments, like recharging a battery or lighting up an LED, while studying the physics of force and motion as they apply to wind technology. The set includes an electric generator, adjustable rotors, and a wind speed indicator.
You can also challenge students to build and test three different turbine designs that answer questions such as, how many blades should be used? How much energy will the turbine produce? What height should the turbine be to produce the optimal amount of energy?
Along with these fun and affordable STEM kit options, you can also try the FREE STEM activities below, or watch the videos for even more ways to implement STEM learning in your classroom today.