The internet is a treasure-trove of learning materials that don’t require you to trek to a bookstore, a lecture hall, or even to wait for a package delivery. What was once a laborious scavenger hunt for teaching resources, has now become a process of selecting through an abundance of riches – including STEM resources and lessons for learning at home.
Homeschooling in the various STEM fields has become much easier in recent years with the appearance of excellent curricula and lesson plans. Khan Academy has long since expanded beyond its original mission of delivering math lessons, the American Chemical Society gives away a complete chemistry curriculum, and a variety of lesson plans are freely available from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Edsitement, among others.
Here is a list of online STEM resources freely available for use by homeschooling teens:
Khan Academy – Free online science courses feature video lectures, text, and online quizzes.
American Chemical Society: High School Chemistry Education Resources – Free lesson plans, texts, webinars, and other resources for grades 9-12.
Middle School Chemistry – The American Chemical Society offers free, complete curriculum, including texts, teachers’ guide, plans for experiments, and multi-media presentations for grades 6-8.
Physics for K-8 – The American Physical Society offers experiment-based learning for middle schoolers linked to the PhysicsQuest competition, as well as free, downloadable physics texts for younger students.
Physics for High School – Free lessons about lasers, from the American Physical Society.
ScienceNetLinks – The American Association for the Advancement of Science offers free lesson plans for grades K-12, covering a wide variety of subjects from Astronomy, through Engineering, to Physics, and more. Organized and searchable by subject and grade level. While the material isn’t organized into formal curricula, lessons often link to others that dig deeper on the subject.
Science & Health Education Partnership – Free database of selected, SEP reviewed, hands-on lessons created by a collaboration between the University of California and the San Francisco Unified School District.
TedEd Lessons – Free lessons in a variety of Science and Technology topics, including creative video presentations about every entry in the periodic table of the elements.
Audio & Speaker Electronics – A high school course developed by MIT, designed to be fun and interesting for students and to offer them an opportunity to learn about something in which they’re interested. Most high school students never learn much about electronics, and those who do might find it uninteresting without exploring an exciting application like audio/acoustics.
Guitar Building – In this class, students learn about physics principles by examining the physics responsible for producing music with electronic stringed instruments, while building, testing, and playing their own electric guitar. Students will design their own Guitar bodies, construct their own pick-ups, assemble their own guitars, tune them using a chromatic tuner, and use them to play a simple song. While the instructions here give enough detail that an independent learner could construct their own guitar, please note that this activity should only be attempted with proper adult supervision, whether at home or at school. A high school course developed by MIT.
Swift Playgrounds – If you want to code your own iPad and iPhone apps, this programming app designed for middle and high school students, is a great starting point. You don’t need any programming know-how to start coding. The Swift Playgrounds app teaches you how.
Understanding Programming: TEST THIS! – Play this game to test computer software and learn basic principles of programming design.
BUILDING BIG – BUILDING BIG is a great opportunity to get students thinking about structures they see every day. You can use the television series and Web site to increase students’ awareness of their built environment and the impact of technology on society, while teaching basic physical science concepts. This Educators’ Guide is a web version of the printed Activity Guide created for the BUILDING BIG television series. Explore bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams and tunnels with interactive labs and challenges.
eGFI Dream Up the Future – From the interactive website (needs Adobe Flash) to the colorful and inspiring print and digital magazine, this website from the American Society for Engineering Education has something for everyone–students, teachers, homeschoolers, parents, and anyone else with an interest in engineering. eGFI stands for: Engineering, Go For It!
engNRICH Problem Based Learning – engNRICH offers mathematical engineering problems for solution by students ages 14-19. There are more than 25 problems in the areas of dynamics, structural engineering, digital circuits and logic, decisions, logistics and control, mechanical engineering, power, work and energy in engineering, and electrical engineering. Each problem has notes for the teacher, hints, and a detailed solution.
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century – This site from the National Academy of Engineering contains a list of the top 20 engineering achievements of the 20th century and how they changed the world. Each achievement includes a timeline, significant inventors, early years of development, and ongoing progress. Some of the achievements include electrical power, the automobile, computers, telephone, Internet, laser and fiber optics, and spacecraft.
Khan Academy – Free online math courses feature video lectures, text, and online quizzes.
Math Worksheet Land – High school math worksheets are a lot harder to find than elementary math worksheets, so I really appreciate this site’s collection of worksheets for advanced subjects such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, quadratic equations, and statistics/probability. Other topics include graphing, logarithms, scientific notation, exponents, logic, etc.
Middle School Math Lesson Plans & Activities – The American Federation of Teachers offers free lesson plans in geometry, expressions, functions, ratios, and statistics resources.
Mathematics Illuminated – This video course for high school and college level instruction explores mathematical concepts as tools for understanding real-world phenomena. The 13-part series explores major themes in the field of mathematics, from mankind’s earliest study of prime numbers to the cutting edge mathematics used to reveal the shape of the universe.
Math Planet – Study math online – for free! If you are studying at high school or are preparing for college this is the perfect place for you. On these pages you will find all the theory needed to complete your math studies in four math courses: Pre-algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry.
This is by no means an exhaustive listing of STEM lessons for learning at home. For more resources arranged by subject and grade level, see: HomeschoolLibrary.info