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50 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Teaching STEAM

by 100IQ Win The Knowledge

Teachers know that STEAM, that combo platter of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, offers students something no singular subject can alone: a fuller package of innovative awesomeness. But sometimes it’s hard for teachers to come up with ideas for STEAM. So we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite projects, tips, and ideas for teaching STEAM in your classroom. Dive in!   

Table of Contents

1. No STEAM experience, no problem. 

You may have never coded or be a little shy with robots—that’s okay! You don’t need all the answers to make STEAM matter.

2. Team up with your teacher BFF.

There’s strength in numbers! Working together as a team with students and embracing failure can change your teaching game and foster teamwork among your students. 

3. Play with pool noodles.

Pool noodles are the best manipulative for teaching STEAM. Here are some of our favorite go-to pool noodle ideas .

4. Create a bridge between STEAM and real-world issues.

These elementary school students raised funds for cancer research and services while working on STEAM projects related to how cancer affects the body. 

5. Level the playing field for girls.

There’s much talk about the effort to encourage girls to try coding and engineering. STEAM curriculum helps close the gap by adding creative interests, like these girl-powered STEAM ideas!

6. Inspire them with female scientists, too.

Marie Curie is cool and all, but she’s one of a long list of badass STEAM pioneers! Help your lessons come alive with this list of 16 women who studied everything from butterflies to dinosaurs to nuclear physics.

7. Consider a makerspace. 

A makerspace is more than a buzzword—it’s your home base for STEAM curriculum! Your classroom makerspace will let your students tinker, explore, create new things, and so much more.

8. Look for inexpensive inspiration.

How to Start a Makerspace for Less Than $20 in Your School

The price tags of elaborate 3-D printers, coding robots, circuit sets, and coding systems can make a makerspace seem unattainable. Here’s how to upcycle, find deals, beg, borrow, and shop smart!

9. Hit up the dollar store.

Stretch your STEAM budget with these great supply hacks for science projects.

10. Add STEAM challenges onto your read alouds.

Struggling readers? Try tapping into STEAM principles to boost engagement. “My kids were reading about Orville and Wilbur Wright, so I had them do a simple engineering challenge,” Toni Z. says. “Who could make the best paper airplane?” After the activity, the students were much more interested in reading about the Wright brothers!

Source: Room 241

11. Grow your classroom library with STEAM books.

50 STEM Books to Update Your Collection

No classroom book nook can be complete without a place to fire up curiosity with science reads, books that inspire invention, motivate budding artists, or even inspire a love for math. The power of a STEAM library knows no bounds. Build out a STEAM-themed digital library, too!

12. Discover the magical powers of using magnets in the classroom.

We searched from pole to pole (oh, yeah!) for magnet activities to help organize your classroom, encourage creativity, and teach kids science concepts.

13. Encourage young innovators to build and tinker.

DIY Sensory Board Ideas for the Classroom

Create DIY sensory boards for your younger learners to inspire STEAM exploring and future innovation! These 16 sensory boards are genius!

14. Make your STEAM lessons really pop.

Students love balloon experiments, whether they’re building a balloon-powered boat or powering a light bulb with static electricity. Stock up at the dollar store and throw a science party with these 20 awesome balloon experiments!

15. Create a STEAM-inspired space with the perfect decor.

Science Bulletin Boards

Take your science lab or classroom up a notch with these incredible science bulletin boards and classroom decor ideas!

16. Start a Genius Hour for students to enhance your ideas for teaching STEAM.

Genius Hour is all the rage in creativity-driven classrooms. It’s inquiry-based, student-directed learning that encourages research, creativity, and helping students discover STEAM-related passions. Genius Hour is a great way to dive deep into material, and we promise it’s not a free-for-all!

17. Let a famous robot take the wheel.

C-3PO … Optimus Prime … Iron Giant. Check out how amazing robots from pop culture offer teachable moments for your students.

18. Encourage your students to take risks.

STEAM might seem to be all fun and games (it IS a lot of fun), but amazing life lessons exist beneath each experience. Here are just five of the ways it cultivates taking risks.

19. Excite future innovators with online STEAM games.

TryEngineering.org’s mission is to foster the next generation of makers and thought leaders. Jump in through their free gaming options for instant STEAM fun.

20. Don’t forget to bone up on how to make a cyber-safe classroom.

Make sure your students know the golden rule of online citizenship, how to leave a smart digital footprint, and more.

21. Try Scratch for a budget-friendly way to teach coding.

Scratch is a programming language often considered the go-to for students (and teachers) new to the coding universe. It lets students create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. It’s STEAM nirvana.

22. Incorporate mindfulness into teaching STEAM.

Think about it: Google and Apple teach mindfulness to their employees—and they’re onto something. Mindfulness exercises will help you and your students communicate and have clearer minds for problem solving.

23. Study the history of NASA.

The NASA Kids’ Club is NASA’s safe space for K–4 students to learn about NASA and its missions. Its games, printable activities, and picture galleries will inspire classroom writing prompts, experiments, and more.

24. Blend math and poetry with the magic of Shel Silverstein.

These six surprising math activities tackle ELA and math,  and connect to one of our favorite authors. Minimal supplies for massive fun!

25. Put a seasonal twist on teaching STEAM.

We see your volcano experiment and raise you! Pumpkin-canos are a delight at almost any age. Get creative with mini pumpkins for the whole classroom!

Source: Little Bins for Little Hands

26. Treat students to this edible STEAM trick they’ll remember.

Glow In The Dark Jello With Doctor Who Awesomeness

Explore polymers and eat them too with this  glow-in-the-dark Jell-O activity. It’s perfect for a STEAM-tastic classroom Halloween party. Check out these edible science projects for anytime!

Source: STEAM Powered Family

27. Share the magic of crystals with a festive favorite, candy canes. 

Christmas Crystal Candy Canes Science Experiment and STEM activity for Kids - Check out this great science experiment for kids! They can learn how to grow crystal candy canes with a Christmas chemistry science activity! Fun experiment for kids! #STEM #science #candycane

It’s great when art and science come together for giving—hello, tree ornament gifts! Students home in on some chemistry basics and learn how crystals grow. Growing crystals on red pipe cleaners is easier than you might think.

Source: Little Bins, Little Hands

28. Explore the world of winter science experiments.

This list—from the science of snowflakes to the requisite snow volcano experiment—is great for kids of all ages. No snow or ice where you live? Many can be done indoors, using a freezer instead. 

29. Light up their Valentine’s Day with a lovely project.

Nothing says you HEART someone like making copper-tape valentines for a class gift exchange or for the special staff in the building. Show your appreciation with STEAM!

SOURCE: Left Brain, Craft Brain

30. Fly into spring with STEAM. 

schooling a monkey

This adorable 3-D monarch butterfly design helps students learn butterfly anatomy, while the artful build of it helps reinforce what they’re learning. 

Source: Schooling Active Monkeys

31. Try teaching STEAM with these DIY parachutes.

Coffee filters make fantastic parachutes. Get your students thinking, engineering, and building as they try to create a parachute that works. 

Source: JDaniel4’sMom

32. Cure spring fever.

Spring fever rearing its head in your classroom? These engaging hands-on STEAM activities will reengage them.

33. Send students off to summer break with a pocket full of STEAM.

Shadow Art Outdoor Science

Parents (and students!) will thank you for steering them toward a bit of STEAM fun for summer. These 21 activities will keep them engaged all summer long.

Source: Make and Takes

34. Ask for STEAM donations and let the magic happen.

50 Tips, Tricks & Ideas for Teaching STEAM

Remind parents you’re always in need of supplies to stock your STEAM bins, cart, or makerspace. With additional supplies, kids will go wild with their imagination.

35. Tough crowd? Have a few STEAM-themed jokes ready.

What do you call an acid with an attitude? A-mean-oh acid. Thank you, we’re here all night (with cheesy science jokes, and equally cheddar math jokes, too).

36. Help students fund their STEAM college dreams!

Research shows that women and members of other marginalized groups make up a small percentage of the STEAM workforce. These scholarships are some of our favorite ones available to high school students.

37. Slime. It’s still a thing, and students will love it.

50 Tips, Tricks & Ideas for Teaching STEAM

These classroom slime lessons will help you achieve your STEAM project goals.

38. Create STEAM-dreamy fidgets as a class.