STEM Classroom Activities & Science Project Ideas to Make Your Curriculum Engaging

STEM classroom activities
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In one of our previous articles on how to design an effective STEM curriculum, we pointed out that learning that is hands-on tends to stick with students for long. Thus it is always advised to make your curriculum STEM-oriented and include loads of STEM classroom activities to make it effective. At the moment, it may be next to impossible for you to design a new STEM curriculum altogether. That does not mean that you cannot introduce your students to STEM! You can still do it by simply incorporating fun STEM activities into the existing STEM curriculum. And this is where we come in.

Our STEM curriculum experts along with other educational institutes have meticulously prepared a modular STEM curriculum for introducing middle and high school students to the basics of electronics, programming, physical computing, and robotics through engaging hands-on STEM activities and projects. Here are some of the activities that you can easily incorporate into your existing curriculum to make it more engaging and that can also be used as science project ideas!

Exciting STEM Classroom Activities for Middle School

Middle school is the prime time of education when students are beginning to explore new possibilities and to make their own decisions. Therefore it is the perfect time to encourage them to take STEM seriously. If it appeals to them at this point, then they are likely to choose STEM disciplines in high school and even pursue careers in STEM fields. Here are some easy yet exciting DIY STEM activities that students can perform in the classroom to explore the basics of STEM.

Related: STEM School 101: How to Design an Effective STEM Middle School Curriculum

Electronics

Learned the Ohm’s Law on paper and saw it work only with numbers? With this activity, students can see the law in action in the real world as they use the law to find out the minimum resistance required for making a circuit to glow and LED using evive. This activity is one of the very easy STEM activities that middle schoolers can begin their journey into the STEM world with.

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STEM is incomplete without a dash of creativity and this activity is here to add the A in STEM! The DIY turntable is an interesting activity for students to learn a thing or two about DC motors while exploring the art side of STEM.

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Do you think fruits could ever sing? To put it in another way, can you play music with fruit? Yes, you can! Enter the fruit piano an exciting little DIY classroom activity and science project idea that not only teaches students the basics of conductors and insulators but also awakens their inner Beethoven.

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Physical Computing

If just by playing games students can learn so much, imagine what developing their own games from scratch (pun intended) would do! This next activity in our list of engaging STEM classroom activities is a DIY game that students develop themselves in a graphical programming software based on Scratch blocks – PictoBlox. With this activity, students get to learn to code in a fun way and experience the joy of developing their own game!

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If one game wasn’t enough to satisfy the inner gamer, here’s another! This PictoBlox game takes the coding level a notch higher by introducing little complexities such as introducing two characters instead of one, making the code for each dependent on the other, etc. Once students get the hang of all these complexities or if they think developing this game was a piece of cake for them, they can take the difficulty another notch higher by adding a timer to the game.

Tip: Students should brainstorm how to modify their code to add a timer on their own without the help of the teacher.

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What’s a STEM activity worth if you can’t have some fun while at it! This activity based on RGB LED strips introduces students to digital RGB LED strips and how to control them in PictoBlox by creating different scripts for displaying custom patterns on the strip.

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When the Angry Birds game was first launched it created a major hype. We’ve come a long way since the first game which is one of the most loved games. Could a popular game like this one be used for STEM learning? Turns out it can! Presenting to you the Scratch based Angry Birds project! An interesting servo motor project, which also makes for a cool science project idea for middle schoolers, it shows you how you can control a servo using an ultrasonic sensor.

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Robotics

Who doesn’t love robots?! (if you don’t, then sorry we don’t know you) Next in our list of STEM classroom activities is this exciting robotics activity which introduces students to the basics of robotics and robot building the DIY way wherein they get to build their own robot AND program it to control it wirelessly with a Smartphone. Cool, huh? 😉

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It may not know who you are. But it will look for you and it will find you. And nothing that comes in its way will be spared by it. It is none other than the determined and precise Follow Me Robot! The Follow Me Robot is not only a cool science project idea but also an interesting way to introduce students to IR sensors.

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Exciting STEM Classroom Activities for High School

High school is the time when the real action begins. Everybody’s super serious about their career and is doing all they can to get on the right path. This makes it all the more important to ensure that students have the right exposure to STEM during these years. Here’s a list of STEM classroom activities for high school students that they can perform in the classroom and delve deeper into STEM.

Electronics

Want to introduce students to digital and analog signals with their application in real life? Then, this classroom activity is just what you need. In this activity, students have to make an LED control circuit with a switch (for turning it ON/OFF) and a potentiometer (for controlling its brightness).

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High school physics is incomplete without resistors, inductors, and capacitors. And this activity is perfect for studying the (in?)famous RC circuits. In this activity, students get to make their own RC circuit and visualize what goes on inside it on evive’s mini oscilloscope.

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This DIY STEM activity is a fun and quirky way to introduce students to servo motors wherein students have to make DIY 2-in-1 goggles whose shades can be opened and closed with the help of a servo motor.

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Physical Computing

Ever felt the lack of emojis for certain emotions and feelings? Or wished there was an option to create your own? Kill both these birds with this one classroom activity! Students get to create their own customized emojis and display them on evive’s display screen; courtesy: PictoBlox!

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If you’re looking for something that encourages students to put on their thinking caps and learn how to make use of multiple concepts together, then this classroom coding activity is perfect. Set in the out space, this fun DIY battle game tests the students’ understanding of programming concepts by making them apply many of them in one activity. The best part? It involves wireless control!

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This fun STEM classroom activity mixes music, electronics, and programming in a perfect DIY way. Students have to program their RGB LED strip in such a way that it changes its color according to the sound sensor of the Smartphone.

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Robotics

The obstacle avoiding robot project is a nice mix of electronics, programming, and robotics wherein students have to make and program a robot that can sense the obstacles that come in its way and successfully avoid them by taking another route.

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Here’s a project idea that can help you with other projects, as far as gathering material for making it is concerned. In this activity, students have to make a robot that can pick up objects, carry them to the desired place, and place it over there.

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This activity can prove to be a nice science project idea – students have to build a robot that can be controlled with hand gestures: turn your hand forward and the robot moves forward; turn it back and the robot moves back. The trick here is to use Dabble’s sensor module!

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Internet of Things (IoT)

Find out the right time to water your plants to ensure their health with the help of IoT! This STEM activity is an interesting science project idea in which students have to make a system that continuously measures the moisture content of the soil and displays the reading one evive’s screen thus letting you know when to water your plants.

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We’ve found out that fruits can sing; but can they help you control lights? Once you’re done with this activity, you’ll know that they can! In this activity, students will make a switchboard that will control a light bulb by touching the fruits or a touchpad. If you touch the fruits/touchpad, the bulb will start glowing; it will turn OFF if you touch the fruit/touchpad again.

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Words are all you need to light your home up! This activity is perfect for introducing students to home automation wherein they have to make a system that lets them control lights by simply giving voice commands.

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All the components used for making all the aforementioned DIY STEM projects are available in the evive Starter Kit.

evive-Starter-Kit

Related: The Teacher’s Guide: STEM Teacher Resources That Make Education Fun

In a Nutshell

Richard Branson has rightly said that the best way to learn is by doing. That is why every curriculum must make sure that students experience what they’re learning instead of just reading about it. STEMpedia has listed down a number of STEM activities for you that you can easily incorporate into your existing curriculum to make it more effective and ensure that students become better learners.

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