Top 11 STEM Activities For Elementary Students

As the educational world continuously evolves, there’s an increasing emphasis on STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—integration in early learning. When we talk about STEM activities for elementary students, we’re delving into an area where young minds are introduced to foundational concepts that shape their understanding of the outside world.

Let’s take a closer look at one of these hands-on activities that captures the essence of STEM learning.

2 STEM Activities for Lower Elementary Students

The right STEM for elementary students not only opens up paths of knowledge but ensures they’re rooted in enjoyment. This unique blend of fun and learning is made for younger learners, making STEM both accessible and exciting.

1. Make a Time Capsule

A time capsule is a simple yet insightful way to capture the essence of today for the curious minds of tomorrow.

  • Step 1: Discuss the Past and Future

Engage students in a conversation about their current favourites and what they envision for the future.

  • Step 2: Document Personal Details

Provide each student with a template where they can jot down crucial details about their current life. This can include favourite subjects in school, best friends, popular games, and future dreams.

  • Step 3: Personalise with Images
financial literacy skills lessons for elementary students

Encourage students to draw a self-portrait or include a family photograph. This adds a personal touch to the capsule.

  • Step 4: Predict Tomorrow’s World

Add an interesting twist by asking students to predict a future trend or innovation. This will make the reopening even more exciting.

  • Step 5: Pack and Seal
pack and seal

Once all items are ready, pack them in a jar. Make sure it’s closed tightly.

  • Step 6: Pick a Spot

Choose a safe spot in the classroom or on school grounds. You can also encourage students to create individual jars for home.

  • Step 7: Mark the Date

Mark a date on the calendar, maybe next year, to open it and see what’s changed and what stayed the same. This will be the day of revelation and reflection.

Think and Talk About:

  • How much do you think you’ll grow in height or maybe in learning in a year?
  • Do you think you’ll still love the same subjects and foods in school?
  • If you were to keep this time capsule for many years, like 10 years, what else would you want to include?

2. Brain Hats

managing time tasks

Art meets biology in this engaging STEM for elementary students. Among the many STEM elementary activities available, crafting a “Brain Hat” is a delightful, interactive way to dive into the wonders of the human brain.

  • Step 1: Hand Out Brain Templates

Provide students with templates of the brain’s left and right sides. Opt for pre-coloured templates or let budding artists add their senses by colouring various brain regions.

  • Step 2: Cut and Craft

Ask students to cut along the dotted lines on the templates. Once done, it’s time to fold and glue the triangular parts, which will give our brain its 3D look.

  • Step 3: Completing the Brain:

With both halves ready, help students glue them together. This forms a complete brain hat. Some tape can be used for extra sturdiness.

  • Step 4: Discover While Wearing

As the hats are placed proudly on their heads, it’s the perfect moment to chat about the brain’s functions.

Think and Talk About:

  • What did you find most interesting about the brain’s structure?
  • How do you think our brain communicates with other parts of our body?
  • Which area of the brain would you like to learn more about?

9 STEM Activities for Upper Elementary Students

9 stem activities for upper elementary students

As students progress through their elementary years, their capacity to engage with more complex concepts grows. This opens the door to a world of innovative STEM projects for elementary students.

1. Body Language

One of the basic ways we communicate is through body language. It’s an unspoken language, transcending words and reaching into the world of feelings, intentions, and emotions.

  • Step 1: Silent Sharing

Have the students form a circle. One at a time, each student will act out a feeling or idea without speaking. The group will guess what it might be.

  • Step 2: Animal Actions

Talk about animals and how they show feelings or messages. A cat might purr when happy, or a dog might wag its tail. Let students act like an animal while others guess what they’re trying to say.

  • Step 3: Discussion Time

Discuss how sometimes we can understand people just by looking at them, even if they don’t speak.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • Which body language or animal action was easy to guess?
  • Can you remember a time you understood someone just by looking at them?
  • Why might understanding body language be helpful?

2. Talking without words

Building on the idea of non-verbal communication, this activity introduces students to various ways humans convey emotions and messages without speaking.

  • Step 1: Show and Guess

→ Have students portray different emotions using just their facial expressions. The rest of the class tries to guess the emotion they’re trying to express.

  • Step 2: Silent Storytelling

→ Give students a set of pictures or props. Ask them to tell a story using only gestures, facial expressions, and props. They shouldn’t speak a word.

  • Step 3: Introduction to Sign Language

→ Discuss the various sign languages used globally. Highlight how people can have complete conversations without ever speaking out loud, emphasising the importance of understanding and inclusivity.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • Which non-verbal actions were easiest to understand?
  • Why is it essential to be aware of our body language?

3. Moving together

moving together

The beauty of nature is not just in individual entities but in the movements we often witness.

  • Step 1: Form Animal Groups

Start with a fun activity where students move together mimicking different animal groups. One student leads, and the rest follow, trying to move as one unit.

  • Step 2: Discuss the Benefits

Reflect on the benefits of moving together. Discuss how it can provide safety from predators, help in finding food, or even be used for mating rituals.

  • Step 3: Explore & Educate

Students can choose an animal group, research their collective movements, and then present their findings. This not only builds knowledge but also enhances presentation skills.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • What challenges did you face while trying to move in sync with peers?
  • How do animals benefit from moving collectively?
  • Can you think of instances where humans need to move in a coordinated manner?

4. Long-distance journeys

Migration tells a tale of survival, navigation, and endurance. Mapping out these journeys offers a hands-on geography lesson intertwined with biology.

  • Step 1: Uncover Migration Mysteries

Introduce students to the awe-inspiring journeys of creatures like monarch butterflies or Arctic terns. Share facts about why and how these creatures migrate.

  • Step 2: Trace the Path

Use maps to trace migration paths. Discuss the challenges these animals might face and the reasons behind such long journeys.

  • Step 3: Role Play

Have students pretend to be migrating animals, facing challenges on their journey. This experience allows children to understand the challenges and the strategies animals use to overcome them.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • What amazed you about migration?
  • Why do some animals migrate?
  • How do animals benefit from migration?

5. Broken food chain

broken food chain

By visualising the complexity of our ecosystem, students grasp the delicate balance of nature and the interdependence of organisms.

  • Step 1: Learn the Basics

Begin by discussing the basics of a food chain, using Guam as an example. Guam is an island in the Pacific Ocean. It had coconut trees, insects, and lizards living happily. But when the brown tree snake came to the island, it started eating many of the island’s birds. Because there were no animals to stop the snake, many birds disappeared.

  • Step 2: Make a Food Chain

Let the students make a food chain using pins, wool, and a board. They can see how each part connects and depends on the others. By taking one part away, they’ll see how the whole chain is affected.

  • Step 3: Discuss Real-life Changes

Talk more about what happened in Guam when the brown tree snake arrived. This shows why it’s essential to keep nature balanced and the problems that can happen when new animals or plants come into a place where they didn’t live before.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • What’s an interesting food chain fact you learned?
  • Why are all parts of the food chain important?
  • How do changes in a food chain affect nature?

6. Microwave myth busting

Understanding everyday technology, this STEM lesson elucidates the science behind microwaves, and popular myths in a fun and safe manner.

  • Step 1: Gather Opinions

Ask students to share what they think they know about microwaves. Note their answers.

  • Step 2: Hands-On Demonstration:

Using a microwave and safe items, like a bowl of water, demonstrate the heating process. Use a thermometer to show changes.

  • Step 3: Explain

Discuss how microwaves use waves to make water molecules move faster, which heats our food. Clarify myths and highlight the science behind it.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • What surprised you about microwaves?
  • Why is it essential to understand everyday technologies?
  • How can understanding help in using devices safely?

7. Friction fables

friction fables

Real-life scenarios become the backdrop to introduce students to the world of physics, exploring the mystery of friction using everyday materials and understanding why some objects slide easily while others don’t.

  • Step 1: Test & Observe

Use various surfaces like carpet, tile, or sandpaper and slide different objects. Observe and note the differences.

  • Step 2: Introduce Friction

Discuss observations and introduce ‘friction’ as the reason behind these differences.

  • Step 3: Experimenting:

Test different materials, such as rubber or metal, to see which creates more or less friction.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • Which material had the most friction?
  • Why is understanding friction useful in daily life?
  • Can you think of situations where friction is beneficial or problematic?

8. It’s raining giant hailstones!

personal care & hygiene skills lessons for elementary students

A hands-on exploration into how giant hailstones form allows students to understand and appreciate the complexities of our atmosphere.

  • Step 1: Introduce Weather Events

Share stories or visuals of places that have witnessed large hailstones. Discuss the factors that lead to their formation.

  • Step 2: Create Hail Simulations

Using water-soaked sponges as clouds, squeeze them to mimic how water droplets come together and freeze to become hail.

  • Step 3: Discuss the Science

Discuss the role of updrafts in storms and why some hailstones grow larger than others.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • What factors contribute to hailstone size?
  • How does hail impact our environment or communities?
  • Can you think of other weather phenomena influenced by similar conditions?

9. It’s electrifying

Delving into the captivating world of electricity, understanding its basics, sources, and simple applications, all while ensuring safety.

  • Step 1: Demonstrate Static Shock

Using a balloon, rub it on different surfaces and observe its attraction to other objects, like small pieces of paper or even hair.

  • Step 2: Discuss Observations

Engage students in a conversation about why the balloon acted as it did. Introduce the idea of static electricity.

  • Step 3: Create Battery-Powered Circuit:

Allow students to create simple circuits using batteries, wires, and light bulbs. This step provides them with a tangible experience with electrical currents.

Reflect and Discuss:

  • What was your most surprising observation during these experiments?
  • Why is it crucial to know about electricity?
  • How does electricity play a role in our daily lives?

Safety First: Emphasise the importance of electrical safety, ensuring children know never to experiment with household outlets or unknown electrical devices.

Frequently Asked Questions about STEM Activities for Elementary Students

frequently asked questions about stem activities for elementary students

Stepping into the world of STEM can raise many questions. Let’s shed light on some common ones:

  1. Why is STEM important in the elementary years?

STEM education instils a foundation of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Introducing STEM during the elementary years prepares students to understand and adapt to a rapidly changing world. At this age, their innate curiosity makes them prime recipients of STEM concepts, setting the stage for advanced learning in later years.

  1. How can parents support STEM learning at home?

Parents can support STEM learning by incorporating fun STEM activities for elementary students at home. This can be as simple as asking thought-provoking questions, investing in educational toys, or engaging in everyday activities like cooking or gardening together. Parents can also leverage online resources, apps, and games that promote STEM concepts, ensuring learning is both fun and effective.

  1. Are there any risks associated with certain STEM activities?

Like any hands-on activity, certain STEM projects, especially those involving chemicals, heat, or electricity, can pose risks if not properly supervised. It’s essential to read and understand all instructions, use protective gear when necessary, and ensure students are aware of safety procedures. Always prioritise safety and choose age-appropriate activities to minimise risks.

Reflecting on STEM Activities for Elementary

STEM activities for elementary learners play an instrumental role in shaping a child’s academic journey. While these STEM projects for elementary students offer an interactive learning experience, they also prepare them for the challenges of advanced STEM disciplines.

Let’s work together to foster this passion and dedication towards STEM in our children by joining hands with institutions like UNIS Hanoi to make STEM education accessible and enjoyable for all students. The future of innovation starts today. Act now and make a difference in a child’s life.


  • British Science Association (2019). Early Years Resource Pack. Retrieved from years 2019 pack.pdf
  • STEM Clubs (2021). A STEM FUTURE: SUITABLE FOR STUDENTS AGED 7-9: STEM Clubs. Retrieved from Clubs Animal Adaptations Booklet.pdf

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top