Need HELP! STEM activity suggestions?

Hello everyone!

I’m in need of some guidance/inspiration and I thought you all could send it my way.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a Spanish teacher (formerly at the HS level, but I moved to MS 6 years ago and LOVE it!). I’m known for the being the crafty/can do most anything type.

As of today, I am in a dilemma. My school is hosting another STEM night at the end of April or early May. The first one was well organized and attended. There were all sorts of activities that were science/technology/engineering/math related. We gained lots of awesome publicity for the school.

Here’s the issue. I’ve been asked, since I’m the artsy type, to come up with an art related STEM activity for the next night. Last time, our art teacher did something with chalk paint and pendulums that was very well received. Unfortunately, she’s set that bar really high for me.

So I need to come up with an activity that is:
STEM related
Art related
Relatively inexpensive
Appropriate for 11-14 year old students
Quick as in can be completed in 5-6 minutes

I’m feeling A LOT of pressure with this. I have to come up with something unique, fun and engaging, when this is so seriously not my background at all! Then, there’s the fact that we’re going to have county big wigs involved this round…gulp!

Help a sister out! Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas?

5 Likes

Make slime (glue and borax I believe with or without glitter) or would that be outside of budget?

The chalk/pendulum project was the first that popped up in Google when I searched for STEM activities art.

There are numerous Pinterest boards devoted to the subject.
Hope you find a project to WOW the kids!!

1 Like

Slime is overdone within the science classes.

I think I’d like to do something that the kids could take away at the end of their session with me. My daughter did chromatography butterflies with coffee filters when she was in elementary. Her butterfly still hangs in her room and she’s almost 14. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Make marbleize paper?


3 Likes

I think my kids (in Australia) refer to it as STEAM so that might help in google/Pinterest searches?

3 Likes

I agree. Slime is way overdone in STEAM activities and usually they don’t teach the SCIENCE behind how it is made.

I vote for Shrinky dinks! If you have a toaster oven you can make them really fast. I can give you a good explanation of the science behind shrinky dinks. It has to do with the unique polymer structure of shrink plastic.

1 Like

@Itsmereba does your hubby have any ideas?

1 Like

This idea is wayyyyyyy out there but a coworker’s child made a “sound” house. You would need the structure (and perhaps you could make small, individual versions with chop sticks or twigs) - the participants add/tie/attach bottle caps and other found materials and when all the items are attached, you can make music with the house. The daughter of my co-worker - her whole school participated and they made a few houses. As kids walked thru, they made music. But you could change it to sound crowns, vests, bracelets - whatever.

2 Likes

Here is an explanation of the science behind Shrinky Dinks.

p.s. Punch holes in them before shrinking and then put on a key chain. Or glue them to a magnet.

1 Like

STEM = Science Technology Engineering Math
STEAM = A for art

4 Likes

@MightyMitochondria Oooo! This is a good idea and worth investigating. Thanks! :grin:

2 Likes

Let me know if you want more help. I’m a HS science teacher and I have done STEAM activities for years (before it was cool) with everyone from preschoolers to seniors. I love this kind of stuff. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

4 Likes

@MightyMitochondria. Awesome, thank you! I’ll have to take pictures of this to share once i survive it. :laughing:

2 Likes

Also, I don’t know your science background. Let me know if you are struggling to understand the Smithsonian article or translate it into a middle school explanation. Polymers concepts can be brought down to an early elementary level because they’re so cool and straight forward. It’s just a matter of wrapping your own brain around the concept.

I have used chains of rubber bands to explain how shinky polymers can get stretched out and then bounce back to their original size when heated. Can you tell that I REALLY love shrinkies?

If I were in your shoes I would accidently order too many shrinkies so my Spanish students could make keychains with tiny Spanish phrases. My past bio students have made Shrinky dink cell magnets with all the organelles. :heart_eyes:

4 Likes

Plastics with recycle #6 are shrinkies. :slight_smile:
I did a lot of them when my son was young. Still have them! :wink:

4 Likes

I was almost a chemistry teacher so I followed the article. :slight_smile:

Love the idea of having my Spanish students do something with espanol! LoL

3 Likes

Maybe something involving disappearing glass using Pyrex Rods and Wesson oil. An index of refraction demo.

3 Likes

Oh lord…gonna vent here for just a second.

I posted on FB to my teacher friend who spoke to me about doing something at STEM night. I asked about doing the shrinky dinks. Another teacher from my school chimed in to say “Well, it’s not a good idea because some of the kids did those in elementary school…”

I despise a Negative Nancy.

We have 3 feeder schools so no, not all of the kids have done this activity. Grrr.

1 Like

Paging @craftADDchick

Some kind of drawing technique that involves a geometric theorem or formula and the use of compass or protractor? I have no useful knowledge in the area you need, but I do remember a small lightbulb that went off in my head when I first connected math with doodling. :nerd_face:

2 Likes

@calluna That’s an idea that could work. :slight_smile:

1 Like