143 science and STEM projects

caliThis is one of my favorite finds – thanks Cheryl!  Great for rainy days or about any days.   If you only find one out of the bunch that you can use then it’s worth your time – – but my bet is you’ll find a dozen or so that fit your teaching methods and ages.

Mostly elementary through middle school, but adults like many of these too.

Each one has a short VIDEO and full instructions with color photos for building and use.   From the nice folks at the  Watsonville Environmental Science”Workshop.


or just http://www.cswnetwork.org/projects

Hour of Code 2015 – for all ages.

Think computer science is only for an elite group of professionals? An Hour of Code could change your mind – and inspire your students!

Join more than 41,000 U.S. schools, libraries, and other organizations celebrating Computer Science Education Week this year by hosting hour-of-code events from December 7 to 13. One public school in every U.S. state (and the District of Columbia) will win $10,000 worth of technology.

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

The main link is https://hourofcode.com/us

Here are some great resources, mostly free, from http://teachers.egfi-k12.org/      If you teach any STEM at all in grades K-12 be sure to check them out!

There are Star Wars-based tutorials for beginners as young as four, inspiring videos about learning computer science, fun Minecraft adventures that children can program using smart phones or tablets, and even “unplugged” Hour of Code activities for people without a computer or Internet connection.  Check out these teacher-led activities and other educator resources to get some ideas for your classroom.

No computer science teacher at your school? Edhesive offers a free AP Computer Science massive, open online course (MOOC). It’s one of 14 providers of curriculum, classroom tutorials, and platforms for teaching computer science to kids that you can integrate in your lessons.

Seek more information? The September 2013 eGFI Teachers newsletter focuses on computer engineering activities, as does the eGFI Teachers blog post with computer science education resources.

50 more easy science activities

Another fifty (or so) easy science activities, most require few materials, with links to many more.   http://buggyandbuddy.com/science-activities-kids/

Sky Brightness Maps

Wow is this cool.   We’ve all seen the black-and-white world-at-night map; this one is more accurate and more current.   There is a series of about a dozen maps to pick from.   It lets you ask your students questions about sociology and geography.  Plus pick our your location for your next star party!   Thanks John WD5IKX for the link!

Click on http://djlorenz.github.io/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html   and then click on “More Information” to access the other maps.

Science Toy Maker

This guy is a middle school teacher.  His site has about 40 carefully-selected science toys that can be easily made for cheap or even free.  Each one has instructions, images, and most have videos and animations.   Everything is explained which makes YOU look like the expert!


Class-opener demos for any age (almost) from the Exploratorium

The Exploratorium in San Francisco is literally the mother of the modern hands-on inquiry musems (we have five of them here in Oklahoma!).

They have oodles of resources for science teachers and here is one:  Over 100 quick demonstrations and activities.   Some require advance  preparation and some do not. They call them “Snacks”.


Toys from Trash – 100’s of cheap and easy activities.

This is a wonderful science education site from India.   There are literally several hundred easy little toys to make from paper and other scraps.   He does not go deeply into the science of each however you, the trained professional, could easily have them modify different variables and you have an instant STEM, STEAM, or EDP activity.

Many of them also have short videos.   Don’t overlook the opportunity to teach cultural diversity as the language, etc are slightly different from here in rural USA.

With several hundred activities you could literally have one per day – as if you had THAT kind of time!

Appropriate ages?  Use your professional judgement.  Most are intended for upper elementary but with the proper presentation I have used some up to grades 9, 10 and even in college!   When working with the little ones though be aware of safety hazards.


Make a Fossilized Rainbow ….fast!

You’ve seen rainbows in the water before… for example, a drop of oil on water, or an oily smudge floating near the shore.   Simon Field has a quick and easy way to make such a rainbow permanent – using water, paper and a drop of fingernail polish.   He also has a great explanation for how this works.   Besides the obvious value in the science of light and astronomy this little activity can be used as another bridge between arts and the sciences.  I’d love to hear some comments about how you might use this.


Put Put Boat, the miniature Steam Engine

It’s called the pop-pop boat, the put-put boat or putt-putt boat because that’s the sound it makes, as it putters around the bathtub or pond.   That is also how you can search for images, plans and videos on the internet.  Put-put boats have been around for generations.

Basically, you build a small boat-shaped model.  This can be as complex or as simple as you wish.  Then, you put a tea light or votive candle in it with the engine.  The engine is simply a piece of soft copper 1/8″ tubing with a single loop or two in it.  Above is one made from a soft plastic bottle and here is a fancier one


Let some water run into the tubing, float your boat and light your candle, and wait for it to putt-putt about.

How’s it work?  Here are the principles..  Gases expand when heated but liquids do not.  Gases contract mightily when cooled but liquids do not.  Copper conducts heat.  Now, when the candle heats the copper loop (with some water in it already) the water turns to steam, the steam pushes out, the boat makes one “putt”.  (Newtons’s 3rd law of motion).  When the coil is out of steam, the aft part cools, water is sucked back up, where it is heated, and the process repeats.

These toys are cheap but more fun to build yourself.  The most important trick is safety around an open flame (fire extinguisher within arm’s reach?), followed by using copper tubing instead of other materials.

I have used these from 7th grade on up (way up!).  You can also have regattas or boat races!  The trick here is to have them go in a straight line – that can be a contest in itself.  I have even put a small wading pool in the classroom for a week’s worth of put-put boats and small sailboats races and experiments.   Do NOT use the inflatable kind!  Have a small pump to drain the water into the sink drain when you are finished and you are good to go.  Mop up your own mess and have chocolate for the janitorial staff to make up for the stress they quietly nourished while watching your pool for the week.

You can quickly find your own links but here are some of my favorites:

http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/thermo/thermo.html#boat  How-to, plus he sells boats and parts.

http://www.sticksite.com/putputboat/     Very nice plans for cutting and building these boats using aluminum pop cans.   A little more complex though.

http://www.sciencetoymaker.org/boat/index.htm   A complete site for putt-putt aficionados, complete with galleries, etc.

http://www.nmia.com/~vrbass/pop-pop/  A pop-pop boat page.