Here’s to STEM (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) across the curriculum. When it comes to highly relevant subject matter, why not make it highly engaging, too?

Our TpT Teacher-Authors say bringing STEM resources into their classrooms has encouraged their students to think deeper, collaborate better, and stretch their creativity across subjects. Come along — you’ve got to see some of these spectacular STEM resources on TpT.

STEM for Little Learners

Science Kids... Unit 8 Gingerbread Man ScienceFrom Joyful Explorations: “Just like older students can benefit from STEM learning, so can PreK- and kindergarten-aged children. STEM helps children to explore, observe, ask questions, and predict… all activities that will aide them as they become lifelong learners and problem solvers. And the hands-on nature of the STEM approach is what quality early childhood education is all about!”

My Gingerbread Science Unit is a fun example of how to integrate literature, science, and math for younger learners using the STEM approach. This science unit is based on the classic story of The Gingerbread Man and asks the question, ‘How can the Gingerbread Man safely cross the river?’ As students work through the challenge, they explore a wide range of science concepts. (A favorite is the ‘flying Gingerbread Man’ using catapults!) For their final project in the two-week unit, the children design their own invention that will help the Gingerbread Man cross the river without getting wet.”

Science Poems and Activities for Primary Grades“One of the things that I’ve noticed about STEM,” says Theresa’s Teaching Tidbits, “is that this approach totally engages learners at the elementary level.” By using an inquiry approach, teachers stimulate their students’ natural sense of curiosity and wonder. This leads to discovery of concepts — a huge improvement over dry lectures or the standard basal approach. I also love the real-world connections and cooperative learning. While I’m just beginning to create STEM-related products, I’m very proud of this one: Science Poems and Activities for Primary Grades (grades K-2). I use this resource to integrate subject areas, including reading. The poems help students make real-world connections, and they stimulate interest in science concepts. They serve as a jumping-off point for activities that encourage young learners to wonder about their world. The first poem in the packet encourages students to think about the huge variety of careers in STEM and to view themselves as scientists who are capable of making a difference in the world.”

STEM Fairy Tales: A Charming Bundle of Enchanted Engineering!From Get Caught Engineering – STEM for Kids: “Lessons in STEM and specifically engineering have provided our students with skills that support any aspect of education they wish to pursue. No matter what they choose to do in the 21st century, they will need to be able to problem-solve, plan, have patience, collaborate, and most importantly, persevere. The engineering process develops all of those skills, and we’ve been absolutely thrilled with the impact our STEM lessons have had on all of the children at our school. We determined several years ago that STEM would not be just for a few selected children in a designated program, but would include all children no matter what their special needs happened to be. The results have been rewarding and inspiring. We also determined that it would not be an ‘add-on’ for the staff. Instead we would find ways to integrate STEM into other subjects. We wrote about this recently on Rachel Lynette’s blog; you can find some of that great information on our blog, too. One popular set of integrated lessons we developed, STEM Fairy Tales: A Charming Bundle of Enchanted Engineering! (grades 1-6), combines fairy tales and STEM.”

10 STEM Challenges You Can Do Today (Plus a BONUS!)

From Meredith Anderson: “STEM education is important no matter what career you find yourself pursuing; the technology is broad and essential for the well-being of our planet (and beyond) and everything that lives on it. STEM challenges are great for team building, which is necessary to succeed in the workforce (and life). Because you’re focused on solving a problem by working together, you can utilize the strengths of various team members, whether it’s in writing, mathematics, or hands-on building. That confidence can translate into helping others in an area of weakness.

I recently guest-blogged on Rachel Lynette‘s blog Minds in Bloom as well; the post was about fun STEM challenges. I shared a portion of one of my STEM resources, which focuses on low-cost and easy-to-implement challenges. Here’s the complete resource: 10 STEM Challenges You Can Do Today (Plus a BONUS!) (grades 2-6). And here’s a recent blog post of mine about STEM gifts (which also works well in the classroom).”

“What I love about STEM is the application of new learning,” says The Science Penguin. “Science students need the opportunity to go beyond basic understanding and recall of facts. With challenges and projects, students can apply their learning in real-world situations.  Projects can include opportunities for art, math, writing, research, and reading. My Science Challenges: Part 1 resource (grades 3-5) includes 10 content-based science challenges.”
From More Than a Worksheet: “One of my favorite things about doing STEM engineering projects is the problem-solving that’s required. There is no one right answer. Instead, there are many correct ways to build a structure or solve a problem. STEM engineering projects encourage students to be flexible and to think outside of the box. Students also learn to tweak things and try a different way if their original design isn’t as successful as they hoped. There’s also a lot of teamwork involved. To incorporate STEM across the curriculum, I’ve created a set of STEM challenges based on fairy tales. Take a look: Fairy Tale STEM Mega Bundle (grades 3-6).”

STEM Journal for any STEM challenge activityRainbow City Learning says, “Here’s a blog post about what happened when my little engineers decided on their own to increase the technology during a STEM challenge activity! And here’s my STEM Journal for any STEM challenge activity (grades 3-6).”

“The thing that I love most about STEM is the amazing collaboration between students that are trying to solve problems,” says Teachers Are Terrific. “When faced with a design that simply will not work the way they expected, I love that students will start over and keep trying. How amazingly proud of themselves they are when something finally works. I find design failure to be the greatest opportunity for learning. One of my favorite STEM activities is my STEM Engineering Activity~ Designing a Box Using Volume and Surface Area resource (grades 4-6); students investigate volume and surface area and then attempt to build boxes with the greatest possible volume when given a static surface area. This activity also has students designing the packaging and attempting to ‘sell’ the product. They love it!”

Design a Cube City...a study in volume!From love2learn2day: “I love integrating art and mathematics because it brings incentive to those who might naturally gravitate toward one and not the other. Add the engineering involved in designing a city and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a STEM project. Although STEM lessons often focus on the gifted population, in this lesson I wanted to create something in which all students could be successful. In Design a Cube City…a study in volume! (grades 4-6) students use isometric dot paper to draw 3-D buildings and design their own cube cities. And here’s a blog post with photos showing the process.

Elementary Ali explains, “STEM is a perfect way to make everything that students learn apply to other subject areas. It opens students up to having a better schema to plug in new information. STEM lessons build well-rounded learners. I have an entire series of products called Science and Literacy that focus on science while building skills in other subjects such as language arts and math. Science and math naturally build on each other, but students also need more literacy and practice with informational texts. That is my goal for my Science and Literacy lesson sets. One of my favorites that works well for a STEM lesson is my Boiling Points and Freezing/ Melting Points Science and Literacy Lesson Set (grades 4-6). This lesson set combines reading, writing, math, and technology with exciting problem-solving activities and experiments to learn all about boiling points and melting/freezing points in science.”

Winter STEM Activity Challenge Calendar: Fun with Math, Science, and Engineering“I love STEM!” says Vivify. “I worked as an aerospace engineer before making the transition into education, and this is definitely my passion. I love the multidisciplinary approach to STEM learning that can really bring subjects to life when students get to drive the learning in a hands-on way. In addition to connecting to real-world applications, current events, and careers, I find that a great way to incorporate STEM is with engineering challenges that kind of sneak in the subject material. For example, students can design and build catapults (out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and spoons) and then graph and analyze the results of launching distance with angle of launch. You can even add in history with discussion of ancient warfare. Or physics with kinetic and potential energy. You can find some fun winter STEM ideas in our Winter STEM Activity Challenge Calendar: Fun with Math, Science, and Engineering resource (grades 4-8).”

STEM for Bigger Kids

Electricity & Magnetism BUNDLENitty Gritty Science says, “Tis the season for recycling those broken strings of holiday lights… and what better use for this than a STEM activity focusing on circuits! I’ve had more parent notes come back to me after the holidays telling me their students couldn’t wait to help take down the Christmas tree because they wanted to cut up strings of Christmas lights during their break to build circuits.  The parents are so happy to see their kids excited about something they learned in science that they’re always more than willing to donate a string to the cause! This STEM activity is so perfect because it can be geared to all grade levels depending on how complex you want the circuits to be; and the activity uses simple household supplies, making it a cost-effective lesson. Using foil, tape, brass fasteners, and holiday lights, students are building series, parallel, and complex circuits immediately! Here’s a blog post on the lesson; you can find the lesson itself in my Science Interactive Notebook: Electricity and Magnetism Bundle (grades 5-10).”

Diffusion Through a Semi-Permeable Membrane: Using Indicators to InvestigateStrawberry Shake says, “There are many biology topics that would be so much easier to learn if they could be shown happening live and in real time. But that’s often difficult to do because biological processes are often too slow or too small to see — but my Diffusion Through a Semi-Permeable Membrane: Using Indicators to Investigate resource (grades 6-11) really meets the challenge. Students observe the process of diffusion and the accompanying color changes that occur right before their eyes within just a few minutes. Also critical for student appreciation of science concepts is to learn how the topic is relevant in real life. Diffusion has so many ‘real life’ applications: medicine (or nicotine) patches, contact lenses in solution, why salty front steps in the winter are harmful to pets… it goes on and on!”

Hands-on Biochemistry Bundle: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins, and Nucleic AcidsFrom Science and Math with Mrs Lau, “My Hands-on Biochemistry Bundle: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins, and Nucleic Acids (grades 9-12) is a hands-on approach to teaching biochemistry, traditionally one of the hardest topics to teach (and learn) in high school biology. Students really struggle because they’re given textbooks with words like ‘polypeptide,’ ‘nucleic acid,’ and ‘polysaccharide,’ which are made of ‘amino acids,’ ‘nucleotides,’ and ‘monosaccharides.’ To students, learning these terms is like memorizing words in a language they don’t understand and can’t visualize. I created this 4-activity unit that teachers can use to teach students biochemistry with beads, pipe cleaners, and colorful paper clips. Often my students beg me to let them keep their creations, and I end up buying new beads and supplies every year because encouraging their excitement is more than worth the cost! They can even turn their polypeptide creations into bracelets. Each activity has specific teacher directions and photographs to help teachers guide their students.”


Truly wonderful resources that are sure to get students engaged! Here are a few more STEM resources (and they’re free!):

STEM Bulletin Board Tiles (grades K-4), from Christie Uribe
STEM Engineering Challenge Projects ~ FREE Student Role Sheets! (grades 3-6), from Smart Chick
STEM-ersion — (FREEBIE!) Systems of Equations with Substitution — Accountant (grades 6-12), from 21st Century Math Projects

(Feature image: Thanks to Amanda Pauley for the AP Print font)