Project-based learning is a great way to bring STEM into the classroom
Today, STEM projects serve as a fun, engaging, and worthwhile way to hold student attention and help teachers reach their educational goals. Here are some great project ideas to take to the classroom:
[su_heading align=”left” margin=”10]Middle School STEM Projects[/su_heading] Eggs are a a great tool to get students investigating and understanding the concepts of pressure, resistance and density. Chickens sit on eggs without crushing them, with their shape protecting the developing embryo. But how much weight will crush an egg? Groups of students in apply even pressure to eggs and record their results. How does the egg’s position, size or type affect the results? Students can determine what makes the egg shell so strong and what leads to their data. Students can also measure density by dropping an egg into a fish tank or some other large container of water. Does the egg sink or float? What happens when salt is added to the water? How much salt is needed to affect density? Have the students consider the depth of the container, the water’s temperature and other relevant factors. Students can come up with a likely hypothesis and see if it holds up.
Looking for more STEM projects? This rocket project is a great way to introduce elements of chemistry to the classroom. These three forensic science experiments can get students in touch with their inner criminal investigator.
[su_heading align=”left” margin=”10]High School STEM Projects[/su_heading] Balsa wood architecture brings elements of engineering to the classroom. All you need is balsa wood and glue. This is an individual project. Individuals compete to create a tower that can sustain the greatest amount of weight. Limit weight, height, width, and depth in order to mimic professional design.
Looking for some additional projects? Students can create silly putty to learn more about chemistry. And check out this great list of high school STEM projects.
[su_heading align=”left” margin=”10]Design Your Own Projects[/su_heading]
Be topical! Some of the best ideas come from our local environment. For example, if your school has a dangerous parking lot, have students design a better path for traffic using math and physics to provide better flow and safety, while preserving the same number of spaces. When designing projects, consider your resources. Could you take an entire class to an amusement park and study the physics associated with the roller coasters? Or would a lower-cost project, such as taking biology class to a local pond to collect samples, align better with your resources?
[su_heading align=”left” margin=”10]More Great Resources[/su_heading]
- Have your students take the STEM Type Quiz at stemtype.stemjobs.com and design different activities or roles in groups based on STEM Types.
- The National STEM Video Game Challenge invites students and educators to create and submit their own STEM-themed video game.
- NASA has a plethora of activities and resources for the classroom. Remember, better projects will engage pupils and open their eyes to a future in STEM.
If anything, remember: it’s all about engaging your students, and fun activities and projects are one of the best ways to demystify STEM!
Photo Credit – Creative Commons