3 Free STEM Activities for Kids

November 8 is National STEM/STEAM Day, a holiday to encourage and inspire kids of all ages to lose themselves in the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math with STEM activities for kids. Now is the perfect time to encourage a love of learning for STEM. Statistics show few American students pursue STEM fields, but the need for STEM-oriented job skills is skyrocketing. The computing industry’s rate of job creation is 3x(!) the national average in the U.S. Unfortunately, research shows not only will we not have enough people to fill these jobs, but that the biggest gap will be among women who are expected to hold only 20% of computing jobs by 2025. Today is a great day to encourage everyone, especially girls, to fall in love with STEM/STEAM.


Help celebrate National STEM Day today or any day. Get started with these free STEM activities for kids to enjoy at home or in the classroom:

1. Complete a Superhero STEM Challenge

Left Brain, Craft Brain offers many fun and easy activities that introduce kids to the scientific method through art and science projects. Using the Superhero STEAM Challenge Cards kids can grow kryptonite crystals or build an Arc Reactor. Download the condensed version for free and channel your inner superhero!

2. Make a Robotic Face

Curiosity Machine, a STEM program run by nonprofit Iridescent, offers a wide variety of challenges teaching kids and their families everything from how to make a robotic face to building a self-driving car game using common household items. For families or teachers interested in continuing STEM education, the AI Family Challenge is another free program they offer inviting children ages 8-15 and their families to learn about artificial intelligence through hands-on challenges and then identify and solve a problem in their community.

3. Build a Rocket

Buggy and Buddy offers projects that inspire creativity and self-confidence in kids while promoting learning and fun. In their free straw rocket activity, kids learn science as they design and then launch their own rockets using straws.


We hope these activities inspire you, and the kids in your life, to explore and learn about STEM on National STEM Day and beyond.

Teaching concepts through analogies

I taught convection the other day in a 6th grade (urban classroom) . The inquiry activity was to design a house with passive ventilation. If the windows and doors were placed correctly, the hot air (from incense sticks) would gush out, allowing cool, fresh air to enter the house and generate a steady convection current.
Surprisingly it was extremely hard for the students to understand why hot air rose and cold air sank. They could parrot the sentences out, but couldn’t explain why.
I was slightly taken aback and at the spur of the moment came up with an analogy that didn’t really work too well.
Later I realized that I really needed a resource I could quickly go to and grab an analogy for the concept I was going to be teaching. Sometimes, in the thick of things, its hard to keep a clear mind and unless you have these explanations completely internalized, its not always possible to draw on them.
If we had a wiki of simple, real-world, analogies, then on the day before the class, I could just go to it, search for the topic, print out the relevant analogy and teach it correctly.

So, I started one! If you are interested in contributing, improving or using it, please go to this Wiki (Analogies for teaching Science).