Building and engineering projects are valuable for developing thinking skills and encouraging the ability to design and create. Southwest Charlotte STEM Academy fosters its students’ critical thinking through STEM activities. If you want to learn more about the benefits of a STEM curriculum, click here.
Through these activities, that can be set up easily, kids will find engaging, and provide plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning with the STEM design process.
What is the Engineering Design Process?
Engineers often follow a design process. There are many different design processes that engineers use but each one includes the same basic steps:
The process is flexible and not always linear. You might look at it as a cycle without a distinct end to it. There’s always an opportunity to improve and test.
Southwest Charlotte STEM Academy encourages its students to loop around and back to the “imagine” step from the “improve” step and so on! One step is never completely done and crossed off when you are working to find solutions!
The engineering process has a specific task as it allows the engineer to reproduce results and share with other engineers more easily once the goal is reached.
Quick STEM Activities
We know STEM time is fun time! We want you to be able to easily share quick STEM activities with your kids. These ideas aren’t high tech so no circuits or motors insight, but they will get your kids thinking, planning, tinkering, and testing with easy to use STEM supplies.
STEM Challenges for Real World Learning
Scientists, engineers, and designers all use different ways to study the world around them. This is exactly what these quick STEM activities are intended to provide for your young scientists and engineers! Many valuable, real-world lessons come from working on simple STEM projects.
Don’t let STEM intimidate you! Your kids will AMAZE you with their thinking power and creativity when it comes to problem-solving. Often they have much better answers than we do! These hands-on STEM challenges combine the right amount of play with critical thinking to truly engage any kid.
Not only are these STEM activities amazing for academic success, but they also provide an amazing opportunity for social skills practice. Working together, problem-solving and planning, to come up with solutions is perfect for kids because it encourages interaction and cooperation with peers. STEM builds confidence, cooperation, patience, and friendships!
Build a Marble Run with Craft Sticks
Some of the best STEM challenges are also the cheapest! When you are introducing STEM activities to young kids, it’s important to use familiar materials, keep it fun and playful, and not make it too complicated that it takes forever to complete!
Our best tip for these quick STEM challenges is to always be collecting re-usable materials.
- Cardboard box
- Craft sticks
- Glue gun
It may seem like a poor idea to give a student a glue gun, but a low temp gun can be just fine with proper supervision!
Building a marble maze is such a constructive way to spend an afternoon, plus it’s great for hand-eye coordination. We also discovered that the marbles make a really cool sound when they hit the craft sticks.
For this one, was used the bottom of a shoebox to create a back-and-forth marble run.