Fill this summer with STEM activities! After a long school year, activate students' creativity and imagination. Don't hear “This is boring!” over and over again. Instead, try some easy to set up hands-on STEM activities. It doesn't have to be complicated, and you can use items you already have laying around to get started.
WHEN CAN YOU DO SUMMER STEM ACTIVITIES?
STEM challenges are perfect to complete at home, during summer school or summer camp. Gather up your recycled materials and reusable items and start building! If you are working summer school or camp, send home a donation letter and ask your students to bring in recycled items. Stuck inside your house on those rainy summer days? Get your children moving and engaged.
I created simple STEM challenges with a summer theme by thinking of practical things we use during summer time! Students created their own grill tools, pool float, diving board and graduation cap. When you are creating your own STEM challenges, always think of what students can relate to, how it ties into the real world and what students would be able to create.
WEEK 1: BUILD GRILL TOOLS
When I think of summer, I think of the BBQ!!!! Challenge your students to create their own tool for the grill. This can be done with some simple materials. I printed out pictures of hamburgers & hot dogs and then glued them onto cardboard squares. My students were able to test out their tools by lifting up these pieces. This activity was a hot hit!
WEEK 2: BUILD A ROLLERCOASTER TRACK
My students loved creating roller coaster tracks. This is such a simple, well known challenge that all students love. You can easily differentiate this among various grade levels. To create this challenge provide students with basic materials, such as: construction paper, index cards, tape, cardboard rolls. Use a marble or race car to test students' track! I let my students build off the chairs and tables to create height. You can use a timer to see how long they travel for.
WEEK 3: CREATE A POOL FLOAT
Who doesn't love lounging in a pool on a hot summer day? My students built their own pool floats… aka boats. This is a great way to talk about buoyancy and why some objects can float on water. We start off with some simple experiments – such as dropping a rock vs a ping pong ball into a bucket of water. Your students will have to design their floats so they stay dry & float.
To give a little more of a challenge, add weight to the floats. I use pennies, so students can add more one by one. They can compare how they do & improve their floats.
WEEK 4: CREATE AN INVENTION
My students are always playing spots especially during the summer. I asked them what do you do when you are running on a field and you are thirsty?? They all replied with the same answer, “I have to run off.” I asked them- “What if you could drink water and still continue to play?” They were challenged to invent a water bottle holder to use during a sports game. See what your students can invent!!!
Week 5: BUILD A DIVING BOARD
This challenge is a fun twist on a catapult. I put small buckets around the room to act like pools. My students created a catapult with popsicle sticks. To test their catapults, they had to aim the pompom into the buckets. To make this more challenging, measure the length of the buckets and create different levels. Make one 2 feet away, 5 feet, 10 feet. Students can record & improve their catapults to get it into each pool.
STEM challenges are the perfect way to wrap up your school year. Get your students involved in hands-on learning and keep their energy level up. I promise you they will be focused, engaged, and more creative than ever!!
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