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Distance Learning and STEM- Will it Work?

Can we try STEM as a distance learning task? To be honest- I don’t see why not!

I know my students would love, love, love to be assigned a building task. I also know that sharing those in a ZOOM meeting with the whole class would be awesome.

So, how do you choose the right STEM projects? Do you already have a resource that you can adapt?

Let’s see if I can help with some answers for you!

Ideas for Using STEM at Home| Distance Learning - This post will give you some ideas for STEM projects that students can complete while at home.

Let’s Start with STEM!

I have several ideas for you that can be assigned to students that are learning from home.

  • STEM Projects – a NEW RESOURCE called STEM at Home
  • Reading Tasks
  • Boom Cards

STEM Projects

I have several featured on this post that can be done at home. These are challenges I have had in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for a long time but I recently added new versions. The new versions have digital and printable files and have been simplified so your students can complete them at home.

Building Boats

This is an all-time favorite and at-home students would just need a pan for the water or they can even use the sink!

They need a few materials to build the board and they need something to use as weights to test the boat’s floating ability. The materials are things your students will likely already have at home.

In this STEM at Home resource, I included a link to a video and an experiment! Students will test items for sinking and floating and then build their boat!

You can choose to print the student handouts or assign them in Google Classroom.

Straw Mazes

This is likely the easiest for students to try at home. They need a gift box and some paper and some tape!

STEM Challenges- Build mazes! This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!

The student handouts for this one has students experimenting with the flexible part of a straw and practicing connecting straws together. They build the paths that a marble or a small ball will roll through and test it endlessly until they get a design that works!

NOTE: We have made these in boxes and also on a piece of foam board. A piece of sturdy cardboard would also work.

Pom-Pom Launchers

At school, we use pom-poms for the object that is launched. At home, students can use a cotton ball! The rest of the catapulting device can be made from a variety of flexible materials. An empty paper towel roll is perfect.

STEM Challenges- Build mazes! This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!

After watching a video about Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion students build a structure or small device that can sit on the floor and throw a pom-pom into the air. We have competitions for distance when we do this one in the lab! I know they will want to do this at home, too!

NOTE: Each student handout in Google Drive has a clickable link to the videos.

Popcorn Boxes

For this one, students need paper and popped popcorn. Eating is optional!

STEM Challenges- Build mazes! This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!

The experiment for this challenge about capacity and volume is to estimate and then try to fill a flat space with popcorn pieces. Can they guess the right amount? And how will this connect to building the popcorn container? 

They must build a container that will perfectly hold a certain amount of popcorn. Their home teacher will need to count out the amount of popcorn and hide it. This issued to test their container after they get it finished.

Index Card Towers

 This is another favorite of ours and it is a lot more challenging than it looks. Students use a set of index cards (any size) to build the tallest possible tower.

STEM Challenges- Build mazes! This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!

After watching a video about building towers students experiment by building towers made of cups. Then they build a tower of index cards. To make it even more challenging I sometimes have them build a tower that will support weight at the top-like small stuffed animal.

Each of these challenges in the STEM at Home resource has a 3-page student handout in a printable format and a Google Slides format. A teacher’s guide is also included!

Reading Tasks

I have had several teachers and even a few parents contact me about these quick read sets. They are really fun to complete.

Each set contains five reading passages. Each passage is short and then has comprehension questions specific to the page. The fifth passage is a paired text set. I either wrote a short story paired with informational text, a poem paired with informational text, or two informational texts. The students use the two texts to answer questions and compare the passages.

STEM Challenges- Build mazes! This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!

This set will require being printed. I am working on making these sets in digital formats.

 Take a look at the first set!

STEM Challenges- Build mazes! This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!

Keep checking my Distance Learning category on TpT! I am adding these as fast as I can create them!

BOOM Cards

These are the most fun sets of task cards I have ever created! I have really enjoyed making science-based and math-based sets.

If you are using Boom Learning in your classroom you can make these available to your students at home. 

Right now I have several science sets and a math set. I will be adding MORE!

I hope this helps you with some ideas for projects that will engage your students even when they are working from their kitchen tables!

And – even better – I have a post you can read all about STEM at Home!

STEM at Home- This blog post gives tips about creating three different kinds of mazes. Links to the resources are included! Easy materials and easy prep challenges are the best!