STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are all the buzz in education. Adults and teachers can help kids prepare for a technology-centered future with fun, hands-on projects that help teach how, and why, things work. So, dive-in with your budding scientist and try out these DIY projects at home.
Any kid can become a scientist! This wonderful experiment implements physics and chemistry and can be done several times changing factors such as water temperature, type of oil used, or amount of Alka Seltzer added.
- Clear jar
- Food coloring (any color)
- Cooking oil
- Alka Seltzer tablet (any brand)
1. Fill your jar 2/3 the way up with oil and the other 1/3 with water.
2. Add several drops of food coloring to your oil and water.
3. Add a tablet of Alka Seltzer.
4. Watch the chemical reaction occur.
Jigglebot (DIY Robot)
You and your child can put your tech-savvy heads together to assemble this darling Jigglebot then sit back and watch it jiggle, spin and create fantastic works of art.
- Disposable cup
- Electrical tape
- 3 markers
- 2 “AAA” battery holder
- 2 “AAA” batteries
1. Tape 3 markers to the inside of the cup as legs.
2. Attach battery pack to the DC motor by wrapping the wire around the leads on the motor.
3. Tape battery pack to the top of the cup, slightly to one side.
4. Tape DC motor to the cup.
5. Place batteries in the holder to start. Clip the clothespin to the motor to make it jiggle.
6. To jiggle more, add extra weight by taping a popsicle stick to the clothespin.
7. Make a face on your jigglebot, plug in the batteries, place it on a piece of paper and watch it go!
*Note: The battery holder and motor, along with many other STEM project supplies, can be purchased locally at TinkerTech, 216 W. Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti, 734-707-8019, tinkertech.io.
Help your child understand the basics of engineering as they work to build a solid structure with a sturdy base, the right amount of pieces and a good design. Be as creative as you like, with materials found around the house.
- Toothpicks, straws, or skewers
- Any squishy material to hold toothpicks together (i.e. playdough, marshmallows, gummy candies, fruit, cheese, jellybeans, etc.)
1. Connect the point of the toothpicks to the squishy material and continue adding on. Be creative!
2. Pick a structure to replicate, or come up with your own design.
Make math fun (and tasty!) as your child explores fractions with pizza. Make a pizza from construction paper or create an edible pizza that you and your child can enjoy eating while learning.
- Brown circle for crust
- Smaller yellow circle for cheese
- Various colored papers for toppings
- Optional: Pizza box
1. Cut a large brown circle and a smaller yellow circle. Glue the yellow on top to create the crust and cheese.
2. Cut the circle into eight equal slices.
3. Cut various toppings. I left these unglued so I could switch them as we discuss different fractions.
4. Now, for the fraction fun! Have the child count how many pieces of pizza there are in the whole pizza. Explain that 8 pieces make up the whole. Since 8 of the 8 pieces (or 8/8) have cheese, the whole pizza has cheese. When teaching the fractions, go through each topping and count how many pieces have that specific topping (do this with pieces that have a combo of toppings as well). For example, 5 pieces have mushrooms. Now, count the pepperonis. Six of the 8 pieces have pepperonis so as a fraction it is written 6/8 (or ¾ if you have older children ready for simplification).