5 Proven STEM Activities for Distant Learning

5 Proven STEM Activities for Distant Learning
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And we’re off! The school year has officially started for almost everyone worldwide. We have A LOT going on. Distant learning, hybrid, spilt classes, in-person, schools shutting already…it is mind-numbing BUT the good news.

You don’t have to do any of this alone! 

As some of you know I’ve been teaching STEM classes online. Below are five tried and tested STEM activities that worked really for distant learning. These STEM activities are for all age groups ranging from PreK to Middle School.

5 STEM Activities for Distant Learning

Car Crash Test

I have done this STEM activity with students ranging from ages 7-13. Overall the feedback and results have been fun!

During this STEM activity students must design and create a car that can hold an egg and survive a crash test.

I spilt this into a mini unit.

Day One: We look at the parts of the car. For the sake of our experiment I limit it to wheels/axles, chassis and seat for an egg. We then begin to brainstorm what materials can be used from around their house to build.

Day Two: By day two students should have a car about 80% finished. During this day students ask any design questions they have an begin on iterations.

Here’s a look at some of the designs:

 

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Rube Goldberg Machine

I have actually been having a blast teaching this! You can find more information on the Rube Goldberg website. This distant learning STEM unit is broken down into 5 parts.

Part One: Students are introduced to Rube Goldberg Machines and chain reactions. I show students the video below focusing on the materials and simple machines used. Students then create a small two part chain reaction.

 

Part Two & Three: During these two days we recreate all the simple machines using materials from around the house. Materials we have used are cylinder shaped objects, cardboard, pipe cleaners, clay and string.

Part Four: Students start to recreate a three step Rube Goldberg Machine. We work backwards when planning this. We start with the goal and then students decided on what three simple machines/chain reactions they’ll use to complete the goal.

Here’s an example of one my student made:

Invisible Ink

This is a very simple STEM activity that worked so well for distant learning. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of this, but here are the materials and method:

Materials:

  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Ear bud
  • Spoon
  • 2-3 sheets of A4 paper

Method:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl.
  2. Mix a small amount (one tablespoon) of water into the lemon juice.
  3. Stir the lemon juice and water with the spoon.
  4. Dip the ear bud into the mixture.
  5. Write your message onto the paper. Apply a good amount so the A4 paper is decently damp, but not enough to tear.
  6. Set aside and allow it to dry for about 20 minutes.
  7. Once dry, hold the paper up to the sun and you will be able to see your message.

Virtual STEM: Alternative Handshake

Keep with the times, the next distant learning STEM activity required students to design an alternative way to handshake. The constraints were pretty straightforward, they had to maintain a safe distant away from the person and not touch them.

Here are some examples:

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Alternative way to handshake.

 

You can find that activity and other COVID, health and hygiene activities here:

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NGSS Forces & Interactions: Push & Pull

Finally I created an entire virtual unit for KG on forces and interactions.

Start the year off with this NGSS aligned push and pull virtual unit. Students can use this resource on Google Slides or Seesaw. Audio has been included for directions for ESL learners and emerging readers. In this push and pull unit you find:

  • Directions
  • Standards
  • Answer Keys
  • STEM Rubric
  • Table of Contents
  • Push & Pull Definitions
  • Push & Pull Choice Board (Video, Drag & Drop, Write it Out, Move It)
  • Three STEM Challenges (Ramp, Pulley & STEM Sports)
  • Student Reflection Sheet

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Take Care!

I found an amazing blog that has loads of tips and tricks self-care and mindfulness. Shalishia- Glowing in Primary make sure to check it out!

There is no need to try to do any of this alone! I hope this helped ease your workload.

Happy Teaching!

Emi

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