It’s National STEM Day! Today is a special day to recognize and promote the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This day is all about inspiring curiosity, fostering creativity, and encouraging students to explore the wonders of STEM. Before we jump into some fun ideas, let's explore the history of National STEM Day.
National STEM Day: A Brief History
National STEM Day, established in the U.S. in 2015, serves as a significant annual reminder of the critical role played by STEM education. STEM encompasses science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – the cornerstones of innovation and problem-solving. These fields are at the forefront of progress, addressing intricate challenges and shaping our shared future.
What makes National STEM Day truly remarkable is its spotlight on the abundant opportunities that STEM education offers learners of all ages; it's like an abundant source of knowledge and skills, ready for exploration by curious minds. As educators, you hold the special power to make this day a catalyst for sparking your students' interest and passion for STEM topics and fields.
8 Activities to Celebrate National STEM Day1. Explore Famous Scientists of the 21st Century
To inspire your students, here are a few famous scientists from the 21st century who’ve made remarkable contributions to their respective fields:
- Dr. Jane Goodall: Renowned primatologist and conservationist, Dr. Goodall's work with chimpanzees has revolutionized our understanding of animal behavior and environmental conservation. Her educational outreach empowers students to become environmental stewards.
- Bill Nye: Known as "The Science Guy," Bill Nye is a science communicator who makes complex scientific concepts accessible and fun for all ages. He promotes STEM education through engaging TV shows and books.
- Dr. Michio Kaku: A theoretical physicist, Dr. Kaku is famous for his work in string theory. He makes complex physics understandable and is an advocate for scientific literacy, inspiring students to explore the mysteries of the universe.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson: An astrophysicist and science communicator, Tyson hosts educational shows and podcasts, making astronomy and astrophysics engaging. He encourages curiosity and exploration of the cosmos.
- Temple Grandin: Dr. Temple Grandin, an autistic animal scientist, has made significant contributions to animal welfare and livestock handling. She advocates for neurodiversity, inspiring students to embrace different perspectives in STEM.
Classroom Activities for National STEM Day
Kindergarten to 2nd Grade
2. Building Shapes with Marshmallows: Get students excited about geometry by giving them marshmallows and toothpicks. Challenge them to construct different 2D and 3D shapes. It's a fun, hands-on way to introduce basic geometry concepts.
3. Catapults and Counting*: Working in groups, students will launch projectiles into a grid marked out in zones 1-10. Then, building the foundation for graphing and data collection, students will place the projectile onto a graph template corresponding to the zone it landed in. To close the activity, they will count and compare how many projectiles landed in each zone.
3rd to 5th Grade
4. Balloon-Powered Cars: In this activity, students can create balloon-powered cars using simple materials like balloons, straws, and wheels. This not only teaches them about the principles of physics but also encourages teamwork and problem-solving.
5. Light Absorbance*: Explore light in a consumer product analysis project. Students will design an experiment to compare the absorbance of light from various sunglasses to determine the most effective ones. They can bring their own sunglasses, hypothesize, and test them using a Labdisc’s light sensor.
6th to 8th Grade
6. Dropsonde Challenge*: In this interdisciplinary lesson, students will research forces affecting flight regarding hurricanes and instrumentation for hurricane data collection. Students will then use their knowledge and the engineering design process to design parachutes for dropsondes that adhere to specific criteria, including surface area.
7. Simple Circuit Experiments: Introduce students to the world of electronics by letting them experiment with simple circuits. They can build circuits to power LED lights, create switches, and learn about the flow of electricity.8. Explore Nature with a Scavenger Hunt (All Grades)
Take your students on a nature scavenger hunt. This activity not only engages them with the outdoors but also teaches them about biodiversity, ecology, and observation skills.
National STEM Day is the perfect occasion to ignite the spark of curiosity and exploration in your students. These activities are not only enjoyable but also contribute to their understanding of the STEM subjects, preparing them for a future full of innovation and discovery. Make this November 8th a memorable day of learning and inspiration in your classroom. Happy National STEM Day!
*Lessons are available on mystemkits.com.