STEM websites are a way to engage students in screen time with a purpose. As we all know STEM careers are in demand and developing an early interest in STEM subjects may lead to following a pathway into an area of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics!
This post looks at some great websites which may be used with students in those early years.
This year all of our girls from Grade 2 to Grade 6 have been given their own Micro:Bit. The website created to support the Micro:Bit is full of ideas and projects which can easily be used by teachers and students to learn coding and then go onto to make prototypes which incorporate the Micro:Bit. The sites provide tutorials to work through and teachers can create classrooms for their students, although the students’ work is automatically saved once the students opens the site. There are other post on the blog talking about how Micro:Bit has been used, just make a search if you have time 🙂
This website is fabulous for either being part of the Bebras Challenge or for downloading and printing the resources to use with students, either individually or in groups. The resources develop Computational Thinking and problem-solving skills. The Bebras challenges are made of a set of short problems called Bebras tasks and are delivered online. The tasks are fun, engaging and based on problems that computer scientists often meet and enjoy solving.
The idea of Bebras was born in Lithuania, by Prof. Valentina Dagiene from University of Vilnius. Bebras is the Lithuanian word for “beaver”. More can be read here. In Australia in recent years CSIRO have taken on the program and provides challenges twice a year. The resources available throughout the year from past challenges and other tasks are fabulous to use.
Code.org is an education innovation dedicated to the vision that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science. In 2013, Code.org was launched by twin brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi with a video promoting computer science. The concept has grown and provides curriculum, resources and tutorials. Again, it’s a website which can be used by teachers and students selecting relevant content to suit needs. It is used throughout our Junior School as part of the Maths program, students engage in activities one term per year. The “hour of code tutorials” are a great way for students to explore code. Some of the tutorials include making a Dance Party, building worlds on Minecraft, writing a game, programming droids and more. We also run ‘Hour of Code’ each year, often using materials from the site. There are posts on the blog about Hour of Code.
National Geographic Kids is a visually exciting website that invites students to explore their world. National Geographic is known for its awe-inspiring photography, cinematography, and storytelling. This STEM website for children certainly delivers…. it is full videos, quizzes and games, which teach basic principles like coding, geology, planetary systems, geography, travel and more. The activities are short and attention-grabbing. The visuals are clear and engaging for a wide-range of ages. The main focus of the site is animals…. their appearance, behaviour, food and habitat. Animals is always a favourite with young people!
NASA Space Place is a colourful and fun website that encourages students to ‘explore Earth and Space!’ This is a great resource for any child who is fascinated with Earth and Space or for any novice who may just be getting started. At the top of the page are the site’s categories: Earth, Sun, Solar System, Universe, Science and Tech, and Teachers.
Each category contains games, articles, crafts, and other activities related to the topics. Students need only to click on one of the categories at the top of the page and are instantly taken to a colourful page that shows where to play games, read articles, make related crafts, and explore various activities. At the bottom of each game is a section that contains related articles and activities so students may continue to explore.
Exploratorium is a fascinating website filled with articles, videos, activities, and other resources that work well for all ages. Over the years, Exploratorium has collected and gathered information from across the globe- from artists and from scientists and has become a treasure trove of information and inspiration.
Head to the second tap at the top that says ‘Explore’. A lot of the activities work well for middle school students and older, but small children can participate with the help of an adult. The activities are great with simple explanations and images. Plenty of STEM subjects covered in-depth.
Funology is ‘the Science of Fun’ and this website is full of activities for primary to middle school. The categories are, crafts, recipes, science, magic, games, jokes, and trivia and within those categories are sub-categories like seasonal crafts, art projects, holiday arts and crafts and more. Most of the crafts and activities are simple and accessible. Students would enjoy exploring the site with many liking the trivia section!
Science Buddies is an inspirational website that encourages students to get creative with their science projects. This site is packed with ideas, kits, news, and other resources that keep children of all ages engaged in science. There’s an area on the site where students can learn more about STEM careers. The site recommends activities and experiments to try.
Science Buddies is also a STEM site for teachers and parents. Teachers have access to lesson plans, STEM classroom kits, resources and assessments.
It aims to build female students’ confidence in taking STEM subjects at school before following these through to future education and careers, and support teachers and families to engage meaningfully with girls about pursuing careers in STEM.
The toolkit provides resources that include articles, case studies, webinars and tools for understanding how their existing skills and interests can link to STEM careers and study pathways.
TinkeringChild has also contributed to this site. I’ve written about contributing here.
The STARportal is Australia’s national portal for exciting and engaging STEM activities from around the country. This searchable database connects parents, students and teachers with their local and online STEM activities in real time. It takes a while to navigate but it provides ideas and other websites to visit and find resources.