If your child is interested in STEM then take a look at our list of 10 quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students.
We all now that it is not easy to get children interested in certain things especially when it comes to school. Even if you manage to engage them in science activities, their attention usually doesn’t last too long. It’s natural for children to get bored quickly because there are so many things they wish to do. There are, however, children who truly enjoy maths, technology, and science, and if you notice they are very good at something, then don’t give up just yet.
Are you wondering what STEM actually stands for? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and the STEM curriculum is based on combining those four fields and applying them together instead of teaching them separately. The United States is known as a global leader thanks to the countless talented scientists educated in science, technology, engineering, and maths. However, in recent years, there has been a decrease in a number of students who decide to pursue this kind of education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16% of high school students in America are interested in a STEM career and this number is devastating as there is a need to prepare all young people to be able to think, innovate, and solve all possible issues that we are facing now or will face in the future.
We agree that it is absolutely necessary to be equipped with knowledge and skills for solving all possible problems of the society, and therefore more effort must be put into making this number (16%) much higher. The former president Obama stated that STEM education must be a priority and that we need skilled teachers in these fields.
We believe that children like exploring and enjoying hands-on projects, and that is something we need to pay more attention to. We are also aware of how difficult it is for parents and teachers to engage children in different activities. But sometimes we also don’t give kids enough credit. The best way to arouse interest in them for STEM education and activities is to give the children a problem to solve. Give them the materials necessary for finding the solution, and then give them a time limit to solve the problem. They will work together as teams and join their ideas to find the solution. Give them the opportunity to investigate a problem and apply their knowledge because learning involves much experimenting, testing as well as failing. In one of our previous articles, we wrote about 10 Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers, and we tried to find easy and fun activities that were not too easy to be boring but not too difficult for them to give up fast too, and that will help children to better understand science and nature. Today we focus on the four vital fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as we try to provide the quickest and easiest STEM activities for your young elementary school students. STEM activities are based on inquiries and kids need to work together and be innovative in order to be able to find a solution. Working as a team allows them to learn through exploring and investigating which is precious, and it also teaches them to exchange ideas about various projects and broaden their horizons. In this way, children develop their thinking skills and are able to solve a problem on their own, without too much help from the teacher or parent. We visited plenty of websites such as Live Science and Playdough to Plato in order to find STEM activities suitable for elementary school kids that can be applied at home as well as in a classroom. Check out our list of 10 quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students.
10. Color Fireworks
For this activity, you already have all the things you need in your kitchen. You need water, oil, and food coloring to make fireworks in a jar. Fill 3/4of the jar with warm water. In a separate bowl, mix 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil with several drops of different colors. Gently mix the oil and colors and then slowly pour into the jar. Since oil is less dense than water, colors from oil will sink and then start to mix with other colors creating wonderful fireworks of colors.
9. Water Cycle
We are continuing our list of quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students with the activity that is very easy and does not require any special materials. You will need a plastic sandwich bag, blue food coloring, and some water. Pour a few drops of food coloring into the small measuring cup with ¼ of water. Pour the water in the bag and seal it. Use the tape to attach the bag to the window and observe. Water will evaporate, then turn liquid again once it is cooled.
8. Umbrella Challenge
In this activity, the aim is to create a structure that will keep the tissue dry when water is poured. Except for paper and rubber bands, pipe cleaners, playing cards, and cotton balls are also necessary. There is more than one possibility here, but one of the ways you can make a functioning umbrella is to put cards over a large piece of paper and then poke the pencils through the corners to make an arch.
7. Build a Snack Mix Machine
This activity that’s up next on our list of quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students is very useful as children can learn the basics of making simple machines or devices that can change the direction of force. For this activity, you need a mix of snacks, paper, and pencil for designing, a cardboard, a rope, cups or bowls, scissors, and tape or glue. First, you need to design a machine, for example, combine wheel/axle and inclined plane. You can use any carton to make your inclined plane, and you can use tape to help you do that. You need clear cups and a rod to attach them to. Use empty milk cartons to punch holes through and feed the axle through it. Test your machine and change or add a few things if necessary.
6. Computer Coding Without Computer
The first step is to make a simple computer coding game board. You can use a ruler to make the squares for the grid and lay out the tape. To make coding command cards, you can use sticky notes or cut cards and label them. “Forward”, “Turn Left”, and “Turn Right” commands are enough for the start. Next, you need to put some obstacles on the board and choose something to be your finish point. Let your imagination do the rest because you can change the game each time.
5. Build a Junk Boat
This engineering activity on our list of quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students is very fun and children will love it. You can make junk boats using duct tape and some cans or cloth or many other materials you can find. Fill a small pool for children with water and test your boats. Children can blow the boats across the water using straws. After testing the boats, you can make adjustments to make the boats go faster.
4. Magnetic Slime
Children are fascinated by slime that ranks 4th on our list of quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students. To make a magnetic slime; however, you need liquid starch, glue, disposable bowls, and neodymium magnets.Pour 1/4 cup of liquid starch into a bowl and then add 2 tablespoons of iron powder. Stir and mix it well. After that, add 1/4 cup of school glue and start mixing, first with a little stick and then with your hands. Make sure the slime is dry before playing with it.
3. Creating The Tallest Structure-Spaghetti Tower
The number three activity on our list of quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students is easy and amusing, and there is an endless number of possibilities. The materials you will need include spaghetti and marshmallows. You can use different sizes of marshmallows to make it more interesting and challenging. Have the little engineers create the tallest structures they can by using these two things.
To make a parachute that will stay in the air the longest, you will need paper, plastic bags; tissue paper, strings, tape, and paper clips. The paper will be your parachute, and you use glue or tape to attach strings at all ends of the paper. Use paper clips for weight and let your imagination do everything else. Test your parachute adjust it if needed. And now, let’s see the number one on our list of quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students.
1. Make a Kite
Children will definitely love this challenge on our list of 10 quick and easy STEM activities for elementary school students. To construct a kite, you will need various sizes of paper, plastic bags, popsicle sticks, string, tape, and glue. Cut the paper in the shape of a kite and then lay the popsicle sticks on the back in a straight line attaching them with tape. Use glue to attach the string long enough so you can easily hold it while flying the kite later. When you’re done constructing the kite, test it to see whether it rises and how long can it stay in the air.