If you’re looking to get on the STEM bandwagon, we don’t blame you. With so many fun opportunities for learning and the numerous benefits that students stand to gain, it only makes sense to integrate STEM into your homeschool.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has really hit the ground running since the term was first introduced in the early 2000s. After realizing how important 21st century skills were to those who would be entering the workforce years down the road, educators determined that STEM education could help students gain those skills and give them an edge in the job market.
But even if your child is too young, or not interested in a career in STEM, they can still reap the benefits. As part of our series on fun STEM activities, this post offers tons of ideas for the ‘m’ in STEM. From building critical thinking and problem solving skills to helping students relate what they learn to the outside world, these STEM math projects will add up to fun and success.
STEM Math Activities for Elementary School
Younger students are so inquisitive by nature, why not make the most of it during the elementary years when they are so eager to learn? Take advantage of that thirst for knowledge by engaging them in tons of projects that will help give them a solid foundation in math. Here are a few.
- In addition to the Time4Learning math curriculum, members have free access to Time4MathFacts. Getting a handle on math facts early on is just one way to give your child a head start for more advanced math studies. And there’s also Science4Us, an online STEM program that integrates math into many of its lessons.
- Use your weekly grocery trip to teach your child about money, comparing, and measurement. The produce section is perfect for this. Have your child read the signage then weigh any number of items to determine the price. He or she can also compare the price of organic versus conventional items like strawberries, apples and bananas.
- Ever heard of the Tower of Hanoi puzzle? This fun STEM math project will challenge students to move disks of various sizes from one tower to another as they keep several rules in mind. You can play online or make it hands-on.
- Who doesn’t love a majestic rainbow? Teach your little one basic measurement skills by turning colorful strips of paper (think Roy G. Biv) into different sizes to create a 3D rainbow. As a bonus, your kiddos will be able to improve their fine motor skills as they cut and tape.
- Help your early elementary student become familiar with money by calling out coin patterns. You can also start a pattern and have them continue it. Once they are a little older, you can have them add up the money within each pattern.
STEM Math Activities for Middle School
Seeing math in action will help middle school students understand complex concepts as they gain real world skills such as collaborating, analyzing, communicating, and more. Many of the STEM math projects below also allow students to discover that they will actually use tons of math outside of the classroom.
- What do you get when you mix a life skill like cooking with fractions? A fun math project! This YouTube video shares how one middle school teacher went about assigning a fraction activity to his students and how everyone had a great time learning, sharing information, and tasting the results.
- Have your child become familiar with how banks work by doing research on various types of savings accounts. Which ones have the best interest? How much money will they earn in 5, 10, 20 years? Give them a specific amount of money to start with and then have them compare various financial institutions and create a spreadsheet with their findings.
- Help your middle schooler ‘see’ the Pythagorean Theorem in action and get a better understanding of what it really means by creating a visual proof. Start with this water demo and let your child make their own version with interlocking plastic bricks, buttons, or even candy.
- If you’re getting ready to learn about transformations, or looking to enhance an online lesson, creating a tessellation is an engaging STEM math activity that also incorporates art. Students will learn about translations, rotations, and reflections as they create a geometrical pattern out of unique shapes.
- With a few supplies that you already have at home, your child will be learning about Pi and probability in no time. This Pi toss STEM math project is one that can go on forever and each attempt results in a different answer. Plus, it’s not as messy as it sounds (no real pies involved).
STEM Math Activities for High School
Older students will get a kick out of these STEM activities for high school math that will allow them to reinforce what they are already learning or maybe even help them gain a new skill or two. Many of the Time4Learning math courses listed below also include journal activities, hands-on performance tasks, and more to help enhance the online lessons.
- This cool video lesson on probability offers some food for thought, specifically a banana. After students watch the video, they can try the experiment for themselves with a parent, friend or sibling to test it out.
- Scavenger hunts challenge us to find things that we may not normally notice, and everyone enjoys them, no matter how old you are. Grab a camera and challenge your teen to find as may geometric shapes as possible either in nature or around the house. These free downloads will give you tons of ideas.
- Is your child into oceanography or marine biology? In this project, they’ll act as NASA scientists to calculate the depth of the ocean at different points using Pi to assess the health of Earth’s coral reefs.
- Who doesn’t love a good game of mini golf? This hands-on project combines the fun sport, engineering, and geometry. This one requires the help of an adult, making it a fun family activity that everyone can learn from.
- A number of Time4Learning high school math courses, such as Algebra I, Geometry, and Trigonometry, will help students expand their math skills. On top of that, students wishing to go above and beyond can also choose to take one of our math electives like Economics, Personal Finance, and Concepts in Probability and Statistics.