Middle school is a fun age for students, but it can also be a time where it is more difficult to hold their interest. As students get older, stacking cups and other simple tasks may bore them. They want to be challenged in new ways that meet their intellectual and emotional maturity. Challenging your middle schooler in the maths and sciences can take some creativity, but it’s very important to their development and their education.
When kids are able to get hands-on with topics that interest and challenge them, it makes learning so much more fun and the things they learn really stick with them. This is where STEM comes in. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and it’s really useful to include this in your student’s curriculum, but it might seem easier to find STEM activities for younger students. Pinterest is FULL of activities geared toward preschool and elementary, for example, but as the student gets older, finding challenging activities is harder.
So, what can you do?
Here are some STEM activities for middle school:
Build things from cardboard and other every stuff – This can be a lot of fun and very creative. It’s also a great way to flex scientific brain muscles. You can build structures, mimic landmarks, or other recognizable things. This book has some super fun science-y activities made mostly from cardboard.
Learn to code at CodeAcademy – Most kids of this age love to code. There are so many fun ways to enjoy coding and this site makes it easier for students to learn.
Build an inventor’s kit – Here’s an example but you can do yours any way you want. Let your budding scientist or inventor build a kit of their own with the items in it they really want to build with. They can even personalize it and
decorate it, if they want.
Practice engineering – Here are some engineering project examples to get you started, but don’t stop there. You can find many more examples online, or research your own. It can be a lot of fun to do these with a group of students so they can also practice their team building skills while working on engineering.
Do stop motion animation – Stop motion animation is very popular with kids of this age who usually love making videos and sharing them online. There are even tools and toys you can buy to make this easier.
There are also some resources from Teaching Channel that are geared toward STEM for middle schoolers:
Graphing Linear Equations—Full Body Style: A hands-on activity to get students engaged in math. Students graph a line given slope-intercept on a giant coordinate plane.
Turning social activities like playing board games and darts into math lessons: Shows how middle school math teachers are making math fun. Turning social activities at a residential school into math lessons.
STEM in Action: Teaching Channel Presents provides an hour of inspiration for middle school teachers. Students collaborate to complete engineering challenges requiring design, collaboration, calculations, and predictions.
Play The Great Flu Game where your students are given a budget to spend and a number of preventative strategies from which to choose.
These are definitely worth adding to your list, but they are not the only places online to get more ideas for STEM activities.
Here are some STEM resources that you can find online that might help your middle schooler as well:
These STEM activities should give you some great ideas for your middle schoolers, but you don’t have to stop here. We hope that this list will give you a springboard for even more ideas. In fact, it can be great to let your students get creative and come up with some of their own ideas.
One more resource we have used and enjoyed for STEM learning is a membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Some courses they offer that fit well into this category include: Web Game Design, Filmmaking, Introduction to Architecture, and the most fun of all – Tinker’s Club. You can try the ultimate monthly membership at a huge discount using my promo code: BENANDME (more than 50% off), and you can cancel anytime. This membership gets you all of the courses they offer (there are over 450) for one price for your whole family. It is a full curriculum for grades PreK-12, too.