With the new school year right around the corner we put our list of 10 Fun Ideas together to serve as a launch pad that both teachers and parents could use to jump start the new school year. These ideas are all meant to encourage students to view STEM as being both fun and relevant to the world we all live in.

  1. Legos – Old school and new school all at once. If you want to take this further Lego and integrate Lego into a specific lesson plan, consider visiting LegoSpace – a partnership with NASA.
  2. NASA – clearly we have the Mars Rover Curiosity on our minds…. NASA has a great portion on their site dedicated to Educators. They also have a section for Students. What can we say – space is cool.
  3. YouTube – there are tons of amazing videos on YouTube that are very focused on STEM ideas. Not only is YouTube a great resource, but the idea of encouraging students to explore is also priceless. This is a great at home or classroom activity!
  4. Do Messy Classroom Experiments – Here at Why Science one of the learning pieces we use in our “What Makes Plastics Different” Poly & Mer module is that we literally have our students make some “goo.” It is always a huge mess. We also see some of our biggest smiles whenever the students do this activity!
  5. Visit the Google Science Fair Page – this is a global science fair competition run by Google along with a number of other sponsors. 2012 had some amazing submissions. Consider encouraging your students to enter. Also there is amazing value in being able to show your classroom success stories from their peer group.
  6. The Local Science Fair – maybe the Google Science Fair is too big – consider encouraging your students to enter the state science fair – these are amazing, and transformational experiences.
  7. Go Hyper Local and Find a Community Project – encourage your classroom to take on a civic project that is STEM focused.  Not only is this a great opportunity for your classroom to make your community better – it is also a great chance to get featured in the local paper!
  8. Plant A Garden – whether the garden is indoors or out, the simple act of gardening leave a HUGE impression. Remember to bring in the rulers, the scales and other charts.
  9. Build Something with Electrical Parts – (or just build something). This is another powerful idea that leaves students with a tangible result.
  10. Invite in Guest Speakers – that’s right – invite real scientists, engineers, technologist and other working professionals into to your classroom to talk a little bit about what they do. Work with your speakers in advance to ensure that that are talking at an age appropriate level (they are also probably going to be petrified so you’ll need to provide some nice encouragement!)  But showing real life results has power and inviting in guest speakers is always fun for the students.

Of course there are so many other wonderful ideas to pursue, but in addition to encouraging our students to learn and develop core problem solving skills, injecting “fun” can also have a big impact on motivation and interest.

Feel free to share other ideas in the comments below!


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