5 Great STEM Activities for Afterschool Programs

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2. Sweet Physical Science

STEM activities for afterschoolIn this activity outlined by Bill Nye, students will discover that despite atoms and molecules combining to make something, they can appear to be nothing. Using a cup of hot tap water filled to a nearly overflowing bulge at the top, a teaspoon, and some powdered sugar, students will engage in one of the simplest, yet most incredible, STEM activities for afterschool programs. Students should fill the cup with water and slowly add a teaspoon of powdered sugar without allowing the spoon to touch the liquid. Repeat a few times and students will notice that the water will not overflow. After dissolving, the sugar molecules occupy the empty spaces between those in the water.

Depending on the grade levels of students, this activity can kick start discussions about solutions and mixtures, chemical and physical changes, atoms and molecules, the preservation of matter, surface tension, and more.

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Dorothy Crouch is a California-based writer who has covered many topics such as financial technology, travel and the pet-goods industry. Born and raised in New York City, she pursued her undergraduate degree at Hunter College and an M.S., Publishing degree through Pace University. Combining her love of learning and curiosity of the world, Dorothy studied abroad at Dublin, Ireland’s Trinity College, igniting a passion for travel. Dorothy’s thirst for knowledge and love of learning has led her to travel the world and pursue higher learning, including scuba certification. A lifelong animal lover, Dorothy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their fish and two lovable, spoiled dogs.

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