We’re a couple of weeks into spring and most of us are hunkered down at home, trying to create fun learning experiences for our children and/or students. With limited access to science kits, labs, and high tech tools, what can be used at home to boost STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) learning? Here’s a list of our favorite 10:
- Make a kite: To take advantage of a few of the windy days that often come with spring, build a kite. Sketch out and construct a few different designs, then test the finished products. Record dimensions, wind speeds, and the successes and failures of each design. Redesign and reconstruct kites for optimal flying and success!
- Build a birdhouse or bird feeder: With spring comes the melodies of birds singing in the trees. Build a birdhouse or bird feeder and set up video equipment to record bird interactions, identify different types of birds, and research migration patterns in your area.
- Grow a plant: Germinate different types of seeds and record daily growth, observe using a magnifying class or document camera, and compare growth rates for the variety of seeds. When needed, re-pot or re-plant and create personal gardens.
- Blow bubbles: Instead of simply buying bubble solution, research how to make solution that will produce long-lasting and colorful bubbles! Design and make different bubble wands, experimenting with size and shape, then observing what each kind produces. Challenge: Try using a hula hoop!
- Construct a castle: Use toothpicks and mini-marshmallows or gumdrops to construct a castle (or bridge or house). Encourage creativity by brainstorming about buildings they’ve seen or visited and how they were constructed. It may help to sketch out the castle first but expect a few trial-and-error attempts before getting the castle “just right.”
- Paint a portrait: Set up a self-portrait session with colored pencils, crayons, markers, paper, and a mirror. Use the mirror to reinforce observation of facial features and expressions. It may be helpful to share different artists’ self-portraits to start the creative juices flowing.
- Water weights: Collect different items such as a wooden block, toy car, metal fork and drop them into a tub of water (ex. large plastic tub, bathtub, kiddie pool). Record which items float and which sink to the bottom. Hypothesize why some items sink or float and try again with similar items.
- Propel paper airplanes: A classic complete-package STEAM activity is making paper airplanes. Boost imagination with artistic and scientific design. Or use airplane patterns and (video) record flight distances. Challenge: Create a slide presentation, using Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, showing the process used to build the airplanes then share with others. Not sure how to use Google or Microsoft tools? Enroll in an online course such as the free webinars provided by Boxlight: Boxlight Together
- Try tangrams: Tangrams are excellent for reviewing geometry concepts such as transformations (flip, slides, turns) and thinking creatively. Begin with patterns then provide opportunities for exploration and create unique patterns to share.
- Prep for Earth Day: Earth Day is April 22nd and this year’s theme is Climate Action. Research and identify different ways to educate others about the need to act on climate change. This could be in the form of a short video, a diorama, an infographic, or even a social media post. Advocate for at least one change each person can make.
So, try out a few of these STEAM activities and share your experiences with us -- #BoxlightTogether (Facebook: @boxlightusa; Twitter: @boxlightinc). Have fun and enjoy spring!
For additional learning resources, including Google and Microsoft Training, go to Boxlight COVID-19 Resources.