Games that emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) can be an excellent way to reinforce these topics. Furthermore, they develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Play and Learn Engineering offers a selection of open-ended STEM games for preschoolers to explore physics, pulleys and levers, momentum, and more.
1. Build a Tower
Building a tower is an engaging way to learn engineering principles like structure stability. Try this activity using paper cubes or stack of magnetic blocks!
Create a tower out of Styrofoam cups, plastic bowls or containers by stacking them in various ways to achieve maximum height.
This activity provides students with an excellent opportunity to practice engineering design, as they must decide how they will construct their towers so that the base fits within the area of a notecard. Furthermore, they must guarantee their towers can support a weight of 12 inches above ground for 20 seconds without collapsing.
Towers have long been used as a strategic asset. They can be found in military camps, prisons and other defensive perimeters.
Students will be challenged to construct a tower that can sustain an object 12 inches above the ground for at least 20 seconds, using only provided materials and without using cable supports. They may choose from one of the common tower designs shown in Figure 1 or create their own unique design.
This engineering challenge is easy to follow but still challenging, making it ideal for any grade level. It can be done in class or remotely with appropriate remote learning adaptations.
2. Build a Machine
Constructing machines is an engaging and creative way to introduce kids to the principles of physics. With simple materials, your students can construct various machines such as inclined planes, wheels & axels, wedges, levers, pulleys, and screws!
Though paint-by-numbers STEM and maker kits have received much criticism, they can be invaluable tools for teaching kids fundamental skills. They help students think and problem solve differently.
Sphero has put together a list of STEM games and activities you can try at home to hone your child’s skills in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. Not only are these exercises enjoyable for them but they also develop essential abilities like logic and perseverance – traits which will be invaluable in their future professional lives.
Another fun way to teach students about physics is with Rube Goldberg machines. These inefficient yet clever creations offer kids a glimpse of how an intricate system can be designed in order to reach its goal.
3. Build a Bridge
This STEM activity allows kids to test their creativity as they construct three unique paper bridges. Once they’ve tested each design, they’ll determine which is strongest.
This engaging STEM activity can be tailored to a range of grades and subjects. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to gain knowledge about the structures they construct as well as how they are designed.
Begin the activity by gathering all materials and setting up two testing areas on a table. TEST AREA 1 should contain sheets of each material, while TEST AREA 2 contains folded bridges with weights so students can test the strength of their structures.
Have students place each bridge across two objects of similar height and measure how much weight it can bear before breaking. Then have them record this information in grams.
Next, have students calculate their team’s strength-to-weight ratio by dividing the breaking load in grams by the mass of the bridge. They should record this information on a worksheet and discuss it with their classmates.
4. Build a Robot
Constructing a robot is an engaging way for kids to learn science and engineering. Not only does it teach them how to construct an efficient machine, but it also demonstrates how to recycle household trash into exciting STEM activities.
Robots are an invaluable teaching aid, ideal for imparting STEM knowledge such as computer science, creative problem-solving, coding and hardware. They’re a prime example of how technology is revolutionizing everything – students must have an in-depth understanding to be successful in any field they choose.
Robots not only teach math and science skills, but they can also impart logical thinking, problem-solving abilities and systems thinking to children. Furthermore, robots may help individuals with autism or other developmental disabilities better comprehend how to interact and communicate with others.
VEXcode IQ is an engaging, straightforward coding robot designed for students of all levels to master programming basics with ease. It boasts a graphical device interface that lets learners control their robot using various programming languages such as Scratch or Python.
5. Build a Car
If you want your kids to learn about engineering, consider introducing them to a STEM game. Not only will this give them hands-on experience with the subject matter, but it also helps develop critical thinking skills.
If your children are too young to build a real car yet, Instructables offers some great plans for them to learn the fundamentals of car building with fun! Not only are these projects enjoyable for everyone involved – both you and your little ones – but once completed you’ll both feel an immense sense of achievement!
In addition to mastering how to construct a soapbox derby car, kids will also develop fine motor skills and patience. Furthermore, they’ll be exposed to various physics concepts like gravity and balance.
Furthermore, students will be challenged to think creatively and explore new ideas. With this understanding, they’ll be able to apply it in practical situations.
High school students can greatly benefit from a STEM education. Not only does it prepare them for college and future careers, but it also develops problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. If you want to motivate your teen to excel academically, try including games in lesson plans.
6. Build a Roller Coaster
Roller coasters offer an exciting way to get your heart pumping. Plus, they’re an excellent teaching tool for understanding force and motion dynamics.
Building a roller coaster requires several materials and basic engineering knowledge. Begin by designing the track structure. Afterward, you’ll need an efficient way to launch and stop your train.
Once you have those items, it’s time to determine how fast your train can go and how high. Speed and height of a roller coaster are crucial since they determine how much energy is expended on traversing other sections of track.
Additionally, you’ll need to devise a means of keeping the train moving. Two methods for doing this are catapult systems and friction wheels.
Catapult systems employ a weight and cable to launch the train, while friction wheels use an electrically powered wheel that moves along tracks with friction between it and the surface beneath.
As you design your coaster, take into account how many hills and loops it will have. This will depend on who the riders are and what kind of ride they want; children usually prefer gentle hills and slopes while families and thrill seekers desire faster rides with extreme heights and speeds.
7. Build a Structure
Playing educational stem games like Marshmallow Shapes or Geometric Nets allows children to explore the concept of structures by creating their own designs. They can experiment with shapes and sizes, compare 2D shapes with 3D ones, and learn about balance as they construct their structures.
While constructing their structures, students will also acquire essential lifelong skills such as logical thinking, perseverance and having a growth mindset. These traits are especially crucial for children who will face numerous obstacles and opportunities throughout their academic journeys – particularly those studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.
Students who are engaged on topics relevant to their life and interests tend to enjoy the learning process more. This helps maximize time for instruction, which can be limited in classroom settings. Educators can enhance effectiveness by designing educational games that promote motivation and engagement – leading to more focused time on task – which has been proven as a key element for student success.