We’ve been experiencing more fun science this spring thanks to STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching sent to us for review as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. As always, all opinions are our own.
Science is a subject that young children tend to love. Exploring and learning about the world around us just seems to come naturally. However, many textbook approaches start to squash the natural curiosity. This is where plenty of hands-on learning opportunities can help.
About the STEM Activities from Tied 2 Teaching
Tied 2 Teaching is a vendor on Teachers Pay Teachers. In total, there are over 1,000 products to choose from that help you across different subjects.
The STEM Activities series we were sent to review is focused on hands-on learning of STEM subjects. The package is grouped by month with the idea of tying the activity to the season or special days in the month.
Refresher: STEM subjects include science, technology, engineering, and math.
You can purchase by the month or acquire the entire series (12 months with over 65 STEM challenges) at a significantly reduced price. Upon purchase, you receive pdf files to download. These can then be viewed on your computer or printed out for each student.
While they are written to be used in a classroom, the STEM challenges can easily be integrated into a homeschoool environment. Materials needed are commonplace items found in a home or affordably acquired at a local store.
Each of the activities involves reading a short selection (online) and then answering questions to target key components of the subject. Then the challenge is presented with pages that can be printed to help the student plan and then record what happened.
List of STEM Activities by Month
100th Day of School – SPAGHETTI TOWER Design Challenge
Marshmallow Snowman Challenge
CIVIL RIGHTS MONUMENT Design Challenge
Sled Design Challenge
Valentines Day – Cupid’s Bow Design
Groundhog Day – Groundhog Burrow Design Challenge
Valentines – Love Bug Design Challenge
Presidents Day – Lincoln’s Cabin Challenge
St. Patrick’s Day – Build a Leprechaun Trap
St. Patrick’s Day – Build a Rainbow Bridge
New Hat for Cat Challenge Read Across America STEM
Jelly Bean Tower Challenge
Easter – Design a Carrot Carriage
Earth Day – Design Something Useful
Earth Day – Upcycled Birdhouse
Design a New Droid
Paper Airplane Design Challenge
Pipe Cleaner Challenge
Lighthouse Design Challenge
Foil Boat Design Challenge
Giant Pyramid Challenge
Steamboat Design Challenge
Zip Line Design Activity
House of Cards Challenge
Doghouse Design Challenge
Alien Spacecraft Challenge
Airplane Design Challenge
Building Block Tower Challenge
Index Card Skyscraper Challenge
Paper Table Challenge
BONUS Building Block Challenge MEGA PACK
Apple Boat Challenge
Pencil Tower Challenge
Totem Pole Challenge
Balloon Tower Challenge
Spider Web Design Challenge
Witch’s Parachute Halloween STEM Challenge
Bone Bridge Challenge
Sugar Cube Arch Challenge
Parade Balloon Challenge
Thanksgiving Table Challenge
Cranberry Tower Challenge
Pilgrim Shelter Challenge
Cardboard Reindeer Challenge
Funky Christmas Ornament Challenge
Straw Christmas Tree Challenge
Christmas Tree Tower
Our Thoughts on STEM Activities from Tied 2 Teaching
So far, we are enjoying this somewhat low key approach to learning across the different STEM subjects. The projects that are fitting the engineering component had the most appeal for my 3rd-grade son. Maybe having grandfathers who are engineers and an older brother studying mechanical engineering has something to do with it?
One aspect of this program I like is the digital format. This means I can easily take it ‘on the road‘, whether it is a trip up to Alaska or in the RV.
While there is something to be said for having a STEM challenge tied with a particular holiday, my son and I opted to pick ones that appealed to us the most.
One of my son’s top picks was the Sugar Cube Arch Challenge. I found when teaching elementary students in the past that anything involving ‘food’ was a big hit. So, the idea of sugar and sugar and licking his fingers might have contributed to the pull.
After printing the pages he needed to complete, we sat together at the computer to do the reading. As I am trying to get him to be a little bit more independent, I only assisted when he ran into a quandary.
Now, this challenge SEEMED easy to him at first glance. However, he soon found that just slapping together sugar cubes with icing without thinking things through results in a big pile of sugar.
It took a few tries to get an arch that stood for a short while.
And after he was done, there was some icing to lick off fingers and get a sugar fix.
Final Takeaway on STEM Activities from Tied 2 Teaching
Having taught science labs in the past for homeschoolers, this is a series that would be well received. And each lesson is short enough to fit into an hour or so of time.
While you use this as a stand-alone addition to your homeschool science time, I can envision adding other resources (e.g. short videos) to expand upon those topics.
Overall, this is a great resource for a homeschool parent. After getting the needed materials for the challenge, the implementation is simple to do. Well, the challenge might not be simple…but getting your student underway is!
Do you struggle with finding STEM activities for your homeschool?
Would this program be well received in the home?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Tied 2 Teaching review post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this book.