STEM – What is it?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education, now also known as STEAM, is a multi-discipline approach to teaching. The “A” refers to the Arts. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics share an emphasis on innovation, problem-solving, and critical thinking. And together they make up a popular and fast-growing industry. STEM is aimed to better equip students to have a career and consider real-world applications.

STEM classrooms typically focus on project-based learning. Projects and activities conducted usually involve modern technology so as to accentuate the practical applications of science in the near future. Students get to apply the various domains of STEM in a context that helps them realize a connection between the classroom and the world around them.

A STEM activity is similar to science experiments for kids, but instead of just involving science, the activity includes other elements that round out the study and foster a love of exploration and discovery that children can take with them beyond school into their future careers.

As critical thinking and creative thinking become more and more important, STEM activities provide a safe and fun way for children to explore the concepts of science, math, engineering, and technology in a kid-friendly and fun way.

STEM Activities

  • A paper circuit is a functioning electronic circuit built on a paper surface instead of a PCB. Projects can range from greeting cards to origami, to traditional art such as paintings or drawings. Learn about electricity and circuits by making paper circuits in your makerspace
  • Stop Motion activities
  • Using Jellybeans or marshmallows to build structures. This is a classic engineering project for all ages. We absolutely love building with toothpicks and candies. It is quick and simple and loads of fun! Normally, we do several challenges along with our building, however this time around, we wanted to “grow” our creations. You can choose to lead your children in an activity or let them freely explore.
  • Invisible ink – using lemons to create invisible messages and then find out what they are by using a light
  • Suspension bridge – use two chairs opposing each other. Put heavy books on the seating section and then build a bridge between the two chairs using cables etc.
  • Storyboarding activities teach children how to script, illustrate, sequence and many other aspects of movie creation.
  • Fairy tales, Nursery rhymes and fables – These are bite-sized pieces of literature that help children to create a story and/or retell one.
  • Tallest Paper Tower Challenge – In this engineering challenge, you will use limited materials to build a paper tower as tall as possible, but there’s a twist! Your tower must also support a heavy weight at the top without collapsing.
  • Paper airplanes teach children the four basic concepts of aerodynamics—lift, thrust, drag and weight

Lego STEM

Lego Engineering kits teach kids about things like physics, mechanics, and architecture by making them.

  • One project I organised for Children’s Day involved creating rubber-band-powered Lego vehicles that go as far as possible.
  • Creating a rubber-band-powered catapult
  • Building a working lock and key
  • Creating a marble run
  • Creating a candy dispenser
  • Using Lego to create “encrypted” messages
  • Lego Mindstorms can be used to introduce coding to kids. With the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, kids can learn to teach a robot how to think thanks to sensors that can see light, react to sounds and movement, follow a set line on the floor, and even back up and turn around if the robot bumps into a wall.
  • Programming a Lego car to navigate itself around a circuit

If you are interested in STEM activities, feel free to contact me. The Teaching Expertise website has 75 fun and creative STEM activities 



Author: Piers Midwinter
I am an artist and a teacher. I am currently teaching at a Cambridge International School in Vietnam.