The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most schools to adopt distance learning where students learn from home. However, STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) require hands-on learning where students work on projects together, which may be challenging when studying remotely. Fortunately, there are various educational activities that students can engage in during distance learning that promote STEM skills. Below are remote STEM activities that your teen students can do at home.
1. Quick Build Challenge
STEM building challenges are the best way to make a live STEM class engaging. Comp with a quick build challenge that your learners can accomplish within a short time using readily available materials. Some of the quick-build challenges your teen students can do include building a chain reaction, a zipline, or a bridge that can hold weight. To successfully execute the activity, you may need to inform your students what materials they will need for the task beforehand to give them time to gather them.
Always choose activities that can use available materials like straws, newspapers, and even toilet rolls so that all students can participate. Depending on your preference, you can have the students draw a plan for the project before building and then assign a time for the activity. Once the time is up, every student can present what they made. Quick build challenges help promote problem solving, creativity, and perseverance in students.
2. Career Games
Career games can help your teen students understand more about job opportunities in STEM and dismantle existing misconceptions. During the activity, you can mention a career and ask questions relating to the job. For example, you can start the game by asking who an engineer is and adding more connections to help break down misconceptions about the career. Consider providing examples of professionals who do not fit the stereotype of an engineer to show your students that anyone can pursue the career.
You can also ask your learners to identify a profession by your description, or research about given careers. Students can also differentiate between various STEM occupations. Career games will help your students understand the opportunities present in STEM, what they entail and how they can achieve their career goals.
3. Coding Communication Challenge
To help your teen students learn about technology, you can incorporate coding in your remote STEM activities. Engage your teen students in a coding activity that will require them to solve a problem by building an object using the provided tools. You can either give the instructions as the students create or put your students in pairs. When working in twos, one student will issue the instructions while the other builds. The activity aims at promoting collaboration and communication when students work together. It also teaches your students the crucial aspects of coding. Be sure to use available materials like play dough, papers, and even Lego blocks for the activity.
4. Scavenger Hunt
A STEM scavenger hunt allows you to check your students’ understanding and vocabulary. During your remote learning session, you can ask your teen students to find an object in the room representing a STEM word. Ensure you and give a timeline for the activity, usually a few seconds, so that your students can attempt to complete the task as fast as possible. Doing so is a great way to make your class lively as your students try to find the objects.
An alternative option is to ask your students to find objects related to the subject of your class. For example, learners can try to find an item that uses electricity, an insulator, and things that float or sink in water. They can also show or draw a shape or a pattern. Always limit the activity to only the items present in the student’s room. You can always review the game’s rules depending on the time available for the task and safety.
5. Design Challenges and Videos
Besides live STEM activities during class sessions, you can issue your teen students with at-home design challenges that they can complete after classes or during the holidays. Have your students watch instruction videos on specific subjects and complete design challenges relating to the videos. These can be anything, ranging from learning about the forces of motion and designing and car bumpers to making a simple rain gauge. You can also provide your students with videos on STEM careers and science demos to help boost their STEM skills and open up their minds regarding their job opportunities.
The above remote STEM activities can help your teen students retain knowledge on the subjects without the constraints of distance learning. What’s more, there are numerous platforms where teens can learn to code if they are interested in honing their programming skills. Doing so equips the students with the necessary skills to excel in the tech-oriented job market.