STEM—or science, technology, engineering and math—has become a big buzzword in the last few years. However, our classrooms have not yet realized this potential as evidenced by a 2008 report, where in which the US ranked 28th worldwide in math literacy and 24th in science literacy. Combine that with the fact that in US Department of Commerce research, the job growth rate for STEM-related jobs is almost double that of non-stem occupations, and it’s easy to see that STEM education is essential for our future economy not to mention to our kids’ future success.
By giving our kids the tools they need to succeed in STEM, we are giving them a huge leg up as they enter the job market. And while any exposure to STEM is good, research study after research study on STEM education has shown that kids who experience STEM early through hands-on learning are the ones who will be best equipped to develop a strong understanding of STEM concepts as they get older! Get your kids started with STEM now with this STEM Guide for Elementary School Kids so that they’ll do amazing things later.
STEM Fun for Elementary School Kids
Cool STEM Websites
- Funology: At Funology, science is bound to get interactive. Make a tornado with water. Build a Jurassic Park terrarium. Or, simply torment your siblings with endless jokes about bugs and insects.
- Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics: Curated by the U.S. Department of Education, this website contains math activities (to be completed at home, at the store and on the go) for preschoolers and elementary kids.
- Kids Do Ecology: Every kid should be an ecological hero. Learn about biomes, blue whales and data collecting. You can even create your own classroom experiment. Available en Español.
- Kids.gov: From imaginary jungles to ion experiments, Kids.gov has plenty of resources for a rainy day. Watch an animation on thunder and lightning or take a virtual field trip to the National Zoo.
- The Kids’ Science Challenge (KSC): Hands-on science activities, games, cool videos, scavenger hunts … this website is full of fun stuff. KSC also hosts a free, nationwide science competition for students in grades three to six.
- NASA Kids’ Club: At NASA Kids’ Club, it’s perfectly okay to fool around in space. You can use your science and math skills to explore Mars, construct a fleet of rockets or search for NASA spinoffs in your garage.
- NASA Space Place: Build your own spacecraft, play space volcanoes or browse through a gallery of sun images. When you’re at the Space Place, the universe is the limit.
- National Geographic Kids: Which do you think is cuter: the puffer fish or the clown fish? On this website, you can vote in polls, take part in eggs-periments, watch videos, play puzzles and learn amazing facts.
- Weather Wiz Kids: Meet meteorologist Crystal Wicker. She’s put together a website that explains everything about the weather. Find fun facts, games, flashcards and photos, plus get answers to your meteorological questions.
- TechRocket: Learn programming languages, graphic design in Photoshop, and more! Use the promo code “MIDSFREE” to get a free first month!
- Cyberchase: Help Jackie, Matt and Inez use math to protect the digital universe from evil. Don’t worry: Cyberchase has lots of math games, videos and activities to aid you in your quest.
- Design Squad Nation: Design anything (!) your mind might imagine. Through Design Squad challenges, videos and tutorials, you’ll discover all there is to know about engineering principles.
- The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!: Pre-K STEM games, activities and videos galore. The adventurous Cat in the Hat is even ready to lead you on an exotic math safari adventure
- The Greens: Wondering what you can do to protect the planet? The Greens have some great ideas, including games, activity guides and their very own carbon calculator.
- Lifeboat to Mars: Explore the world of biology with this free online game. In one simulation (Microland) you control hungry microbes. In another (Ecoland), you have to balance out the space station’s ecosystem.
- Zoom: Hot science and cool ideas. You’ll find all kinds of activities and experiments on Zoom’s website, including things like lemon juice rockets, crazy straw bridges and bubble cities.
Science Games and Apps
- Amazing Alex App: Amazing Alex has a lot of crazy physics challenges in need of your inventive solutions. You can even build and create your own. Brought to you by the creators of Angry Birds.
- Angry Birds Space App: Those whacky (and wildly successful) birds are now playing their physics puzzles in space, where gravity does some pretty strange things!
- Every Body Has a Brain!: Plunge headfirst into your amazing brain with songs, animations and mini-games. The complete game is available for purchase as a CD-ROM or digital download.
- Geo Walk: 3D World Factbook App: Geography nuts rejoice! This educational app contains pictures and facts on hundreds of places, plants and animals.
- Kinectic City: An amazing collection of science experiments, games, activities and challenges. You might choose to run the blood cell relay race or use a computer model to build your own interstellar slush business.
- Max and the Magic Marker App: In this fun physics-based game, you’re in complete control of Max and his incredible magic marker. There are 15 puzzle levels, with challenges, secrets and rewards in each.
- Move the Turtle: Programming for Kids App: You don’t have to be a computer genius to code! With this app, any kid can learn the ABCs of programming in a graphic environment.
- Seasons! App: Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you. In this app, you’ll learn how to identify various weather situations in different seasons. For kids age 3 to 6.
- Sid’s Science Fair App: Sid from PBS’ “Sid the Science Kid” has three science games for your entertainment pleasure: Gabriela’s “Collection Inspection,” May’s “Chart It!” and Gerald’s “Time Machine.” For kids age 3 to 6.
- Team Umizoomi: The cheerful animated characters from Nick Jr.’s TV program offer lots of math games and activities for preschoolers.
Math Games and Apps
- Geometry Quest App: Travel the world by solving geometry challenges along the way. You’ll receive passport stamps for perfect quests. Covers Common Core standards 3MD, 3G, 4MD, 5G, 6G, 7G and 8G.
- Math Blaster: Do you have what it takes to save the galaxy? You’re going to need your math skills to complete your training missions in this free online game.
- MathBoard App: One for the parents. This useful app walks kids through the steps to solving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations. There’s a handy scratchboard area where kids can work problems out by hand.
- Motion Math: Pizza! App: Pizza, pizza! In this math-based game, you buy ingredients, design signature pizzas and sell them to customers (hopefully at a profit).
- Motion Math: Questimate! App: How fast is the world’s fastest train? How many jellybeans fill up a soccer ball? In Questimate!, you get to make up your own questions.
- Mystery Math Town: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to rescue the fireflies hidden in Mystery Math Town. Be warned: you’ll need your math skills to unlock all the rooms and passages on your quest!
- Numbers League: In the Numbers League, only math can save the day. You’ll use everything from addition to negative numbers to assemble a team of superheroes and capture a horde of villains.
- Umigo: Bored with everything? The crazy characters at UMIGO might have the answer. Their interactive games are just right for building math and critical thinking skills.
- Junior FIRST® LEGO® League: Are you a LEGO® fiend? Then this is the contest for you. You’ll use LEGO® bricks to design and build a moving model; then, you’ll assemble a Show Me poster to showcase your solution. For kids age 6 to 9.
- NSBE KidZone Elementary Science Olympiad: Collect a team and test your science skills in 18 different events at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) National Convention. Open to grades three to five. Those in kindergarten through second grade compete in a non-competitive league.
- Perennial Math Tournaments: A virtual math tournament (via videoconferencing) for both teams and individuals. Open to grades three to eight.
STEM Career Resources
- Career Aisle: Elementary: Dreaming about what you want to be when you grow up? These videos about jobs in science, technology, engineering and math can help you decide.
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