5+ Simple & Best Stem Activities for Elementary Students

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The term is commonly used when talking about education and careers. While different, these four fields/subjects use a connected set of hard and soft skills valuable to students and STEM professionals.

STEM in Elementary Education

The STEM workforce is growing at a faster rate than any other field. There is also evidence that STEM careers and people with STEM degrees make more money annually than those with non-STEM degrees. These positive, promising STEM statistics have caused parents, educators, and administrators to put an emphasis on STEM education in recent years. STEM learning is an essential part of a child’s education and should start early in their educational journey. Early incorporation and exposure to STEM will better prepare students for their future, improve STEM literacy and get students passionate about real-world STEM topics.

Best STEM Activities for Elementary Students

In this article, STEM Sports® introduces simple and easy-to-implement STEM activities for elementary students. These lessons can be done in the classroom, at home, or during after school programs. 

Little Bins Little Hands - 100 Cup Challenge

The Activity: Using plastic cups, students will create their own tower aiming to have the sturdiest, tallest tower. This introduces them to the Engineering Design Process (EDP) when they are working to perfect their design, find effective solutions, and rebuild their tower based on their learnings. As a parent, educator, or facilitator, this lesson is a great opportunity to ask questions that get students thinking like engineers. For example, ask them why one design was stronger than another or see which classmate’s design they thought was the strongest and the most creative design. This helps students to think critically, strengthening their 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking, as they continue to build and rebuild their cup tower.

STEM Focus Area: Engineering 

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Gift Of Curiosity - Cloud in a Jar

The Activity: STEM education presents a unique opportunity for parents and educators to connect lessons with real world experiences and situations. The Cloud in a Jar experiment introduces students to weather science and allows students to learn how clouds are formed. Gift of Curiosity includes two options for execution depending on what supplies are available. Throughout the lesson, students will create a cloud in their jar, presenting the perfect opportunity for parents and educators to talk about the weather system and how hot and cold air impact weather and storms. 

STEM Focus Area: Science and Weather Science 

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Teachers Pay Teachers - Do it Yourself Slime Lab

The Activity: Slime is a great hands-on learning activity to introduce elementary students to STEM. Through step-by-step instructions, students will learn about chemistry and other key science concepts while building their slime. Using Teachers Pay Teachers’ lessons are beneficial because of the materials provided with each lesson. In the Do it Yourself Slime Lab, parents and educators are given instructions, pre-assessment, post-lesson reflection, vocabulary sheet, and guided questions. These materials are helpful in executing an effective STEM lesson, which makes it the perfect addition to at-home learning. 

STEM Focus Area: Science 

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Science Buddies - Ball Launcher Challenge

The Activity: The Ball Launcher Challenge uses everyday classroom materials to turn students into engineers during this hands-on STEM lesson. Students are tasked with creating their catapult launcher and stand the “ball” will land in. This portion of the lesson teaches students key engineering skills. After they have completed the setup, they will learn about physics when trying to get their ball from their launcher into the target. Throughout this lesson, parents and educators can ask questions about the EDP, physics, and accuracy. 

STEM Focus Area: Science and Engineering 

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Little Bins Little Hands - Egg Drop Challenge

The Activity: The Egg Drop Challenge is a great STEM activity for elementary students. Using minimal materials, students are tasked with creating a casing around their egg that protects it during a controlled drop. The key to this challenge is to allow students to learn from their mistakes and create stronger, more effective casings based on their previous drops and new findings. If you are worried about messy cleanup, students can drop their eggs into a plastic container or onto construction paper rather than onto the bare floor. 

STEM Focus Area: Engineering 

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Generational Genius - K-8 Math and Science Lessons

The Activity: Generational Genius is an education platform that provides STEM resources for K-8 students. Lessons can be sorted by more specific grade-bands to ensure student success. There are kits designed for at-home use and classroom-specific lessons for solo and group learning. Whether it is perfecting STEM vocabulary or learning new skills, Generation Genius has an expansive arsenal of STEM learning resources and lessons. 

STEM Focus Area: Math and Science

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STEAM Powered Family - Bottle Rockets and Launch Pad

The Activity: Bottle Rockets are a great way to get children excited about STEM in the classroom or during breaks from school. Students will create their own launch pad and rocket, allowing them to exercise their creative side. Then, they will learn more about science by creating a chemical reaction that launches their rocket into the sky. This disguised learning activity is a great way to improve STEM literacy in a fun, engaging way. 

STEM Focus Area: Science and Engineering 

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STEM with STEM Sports®

Are you interested in learning more about STEM education at the elementary level? Read these informative STEM Sports® articles:

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