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Engaging Hands-On STEM Activities to Try at Home
A list curated by Salmon Public Library
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How to Use This Spreadsheet: This spreadsheet is a collection of hands-on STEM activities aligned with K-8 curriculum in the state of Idaho. It is intended as a resource for homeschooling families as well as those who are looking to supplement what their children are learning in school with fun activities at home! Each activity has been specially selected and reviewed by our staff for at-home feasability, target age/grade level and overall educational value. Activities are organized by grade level -- click through the tabs at the bottom of the page to select the grade level you are looking for. There are two ways to search for activities:

To browse a list of ALL activities, you can scroll through the alphabetical list on the first tab of this spreadsheet.

To search for activites by grade level, click through the grade-specific tabs at the bottom of the page. Please note: grade-level activities are chosen for specific alignment with one or more key skills or Idaho content standards for that grade level; however that does not mean this is the only grade level that would enjoy or benefit from the activity. Different homeschool curriculums may cover different topics in different grades, so we encourage you to check out the tabs for adjacent grades if you're not finding what you're looking for.
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Materials Key: We have given each activity a rating based on the ease of sourcing the required materials:

▲ = uses common craft supplies and household items
▲▲ = requires some prep work and/or 1-2 non-standard items you can buy locally
▲▲▲ = requires more advanced prep and/or specialized items/equipment you may need to buy online
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Activity SourceTopicGradesMaterials
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"No Wire" Circuit: Build a circuit using conductive everyday objects.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Electricty & Magnetism3-8▲▲
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Airplane Wing: Build a lightweight wing structure that is 12 inches long and can hold up a heavy load (weight) without deflecting.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
3-8
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Animal Habitats Game: Children draw animal cards and decide which "habitat" (designated areas of your house) in which they would most like to live.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Life Science
Plants & Animals
Earth & Environment
PK-2
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Art & Science - Decomposition: Investigate the effects of sunlight on material decomposition and how effective different materials are at blocking sunlogjt.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Matter & Interactions
Scientific Method
Earth & Environment
4-6▲▲
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Balance a Dinosaur: Build a dinosaur at least 6" tall that can balance on two legs using counterbalances.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Organisms: Structure & Processes
Dinosaurs
3-5
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Balloon-Powered Car: Design, build and race balloon-powered cars Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Energy
Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
6-8
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Bending Plant Roots with Gravity: Investigate how changes in a plant's environment, like the direction of gravity, affect the shape of its growing roots over a period of several days.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Life Sciences
Organisms: Structure and Processes
6-8▲▲
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Birthday Season Weather Report: Kids create weather report cards for their birthday seasons and analyze the similarities and differences between them.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Seasons & Weather
Earth & Environment
PK-1
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Build a Bird Feeder: Create a bird feeder from recycled, bird-safe materials and consider how structures can respond to an animal's needsScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Life Sciences
Plants & Animals
PK-2▲▲
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Build a Plow: Students pretend they are agricultural engineers during the colonial period and design a miniature plow that cuts through a "field" of soilTeach EngineeringU.S. History
Engineering Design
3-5▲▲
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Buoyancy Bull's-Eye: Explore the concepts of buoyancy and mass to create a device to help an action figure stay neutrally buoyant, just like a scuba diver.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
5-8
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Burning Calories - Literally: Students measure the energy content of food by literally burning it, using a device called a calorimeter they will design and build themselves.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Energy
Human Biology & Health
Measurement & Data
6-8▲▲▲
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Clean the Air: Design and build a filter to remove pepper from an air stream without blocking more than 50% of the airsteam.Teach EngineeringEarth & Environment
Engineering Design
6-8▲▲
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Compost : A Scientific Investigation: Students will practice using the scientific method while learning about decomposition, then design their own experiment to test different variables affecting the rate of decomposition.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Matter & Interactions
Food Science
4-6▲▲
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Compost Habitat for Worms: Students design an optimal environment for red wiggler worms in a compost bin using the engineering design proces.Teach EngineeringLife Science
Earth & Human Activity
Engineering Design
PK-2▲▲▲
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Construct a Crane: Build a crane that uses simple machines and mechanical advantage to move heavy objects.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
3-5
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Cooking with the Sun: Students learn about using renewable energy from the sun for heating and cooking as they build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs.Teach EngineeringEnergy
Engineering Design
3-5▲▲
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CRISPR Simulation: Students learn about CRISPR gene editing technology and create a model of the molecular mechanism using stop motion animation.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Genetics
Biotechnology
Ethics
6-12▲▲
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Discovering Rainforest Locations: Students compare maps showing worldwide temperature, precipitation, biodiversity, and soil nutrition levels to predict where on our planet rainforests are locatedScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Maps
Climate & Biomes
Data
4-8
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Do Some Colors Absorb Heat Better? Investigation w/ ice cubesTeach EngineeringWaves (Electromagnetic)
Climate & Weather
K-2
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Earth's Water Simulation (Quick!): See how water is distributed across different sources and how much can be used by humans, and brainstorm ways to decrease your usage of fresh water.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Earth & Environment
Measurement and Data
4-6▲▲
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Earthquake Resistant House: Build model earthquake-resistant buildings and measure their movement during a simulated earthquake using Google's Science Journal appScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Earth & Environment
Measurement & Data
Engineering Design
6-8▲▲
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Engineering Design Process: Students are introduced to the engineering design process by solving two real-life, everyday problems.Teach EngineeringEngineering Design6-8
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Hand-Powered Light: Design and build a simple generator that turns on a small LED light for at least 1 minute without using a batteryTechnovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Electricty & Magnetism
3-5▲▲
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Landing a Rover: Design and build a model of a Lunar Transport Rover that will carry equipment and people on the surface of the Moon. NASAForces & Motion
Engineering Design
Space Exploration
6-8
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Lunch in Space: Design a device to help astronauts eat lunch in space, in the absence of gravityTeach Engineering Earth & Outer Space
Engineering Design
3-5
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Mechanical Face: Build a robotic face that can make facial expressions using simple machines.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Organisms: Structure & Processes
3-8
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Miniature Habitat: Students build a shoebox habitat that mimics a real-life habitat for an animal of their choiceScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Plants & Animals
Ecosystems
K-2▲▲
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Mint-Mobiles (Elementary): Students design, build and test model race cars made from simple materials as a way to explore independent, dependent and control variablesTeach EngineeringScientific Method
Data & Measurement
3-5
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Mint-Mobiles (Middle School): Students design, build and test model race cars made from simple materials as a way to explore independent, dependent and control variablesTeach EngineeringScientific Method
Data & Measurement
6-8
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Model Roller Coaster: Build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing, toothpicks and masking tape.Teach EngineeringEnergy
Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
6-8▲▲
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Modeling Oil on the Ocean: Students learn about oil spills and their environmental and economic effects, then model and redesign oil booms for optimal spill clean-up.Teach EngineeringEarth & Environment
Engineering Design
Matter & Interactions
3-5▲▲
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Modeling Water Bodies: Students investigate different types of water bodies on Earth by making models of lakes, oceans, and rivers inside an aluminum pan using various materials and real water.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Geology
Earth & Environment
1-3▲▲
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Newton Rocket Car: Build a small wooden car to demonstrate Newton's third law, and the concept of thrust.Teach Engineering Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
3-8▲▲▲
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Noise Meter: Measure and graph sound levels in different scenarios.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Waves (Sound)
Measurement & Data
6-8
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Off-Road Wheelchair Challenge: Delve into assistive technology through this empathy-based engineering exercise.Teach EngineeringEmpathy
Engineering Design
Biomedical Engineering
6-8
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Popsicle Engineering: Follow a version of the engineering design process adapted for young learners to create a popsicle production lineTeach EngineeringMeasurement & Data
Counting
Engineering Design
PK-2▲▲
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Recycling Sorting Machine: Build a machine that uses various methods, like magnets or puffs of air, to separate shreds of paper from paper clipsScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Forces & Motion
Magnetism
Engineering Design
6-8▲▲
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Safe Stopping Robot: Engineer a robot that turns itself off when it leaves its "safe" zoneTechnovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
3-8▲▲
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Sea Level Rise: Conduct an investigation to find out if sea levels rise when ice melts and if it matters whether ice is on land or already in the waterScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Matter & Interactions
Scientific Method
Earth & Environment
5-8▲▲
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Seed Dispersal Prototype: Build a device that will carry a seed at least 3 feet from where it is launched.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Life Science
Organisms: Structure and Processes
1-5
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Self-Propelling Boat: Build a fast, stable boat that can move through the water for at least 1 foot using a hand-powered propeller.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
3-8▲▲
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Shade Device: Use craft materials to create a device that protects an animal and its territory from the sun.Science Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Energy (Heat)
Earth & Environment
PK-2
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Signal Horn: Build a signal horn to make low frequency sounds that can be heard from far away.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Waves (Sound)K-3
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Snow Load Roof Model Demo: Investigate what happens when a "snow load" is placed on three different roof shapes.Teach EngineeringGeometry
Cimate & Weather
Engineering Design
1-3
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Sound-Insulating Container: Design and protoyype a device meant to contain sounds you don't want to hearScience Buddies (create a FREE account to see full lesson)Waves (Sound)
Engineering Design
6-8▲▲
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Soundmaker: Build a machine that makes sound waves by vibrating itself or the air around it.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Waves (Sound)K-3
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Spinning Machine: Build a machine that uses balanced and unbalanced forces to spinTechnovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Forces & Motion
Engineering Design
3-8
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Sunflower Seed Investigation: Determine the optimal light and soil moisture conditions to grow sunflower seeds.Teach EngineeringLife Science
Scientific Method
K-2▲▲
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Survive That Tsunami! Build a table-top tsunami generator to observe the formation and effects of a tsunami, then create model houses to see how different types of materials are affected by the huge wavesTeach EngineeringEarth & Environment
Engineering Design
4-8▲▲▲
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Tin Can Telephone: Reuse some cans to build this project that illustrates vibration and sound waves.Learning Library @ education.comWaves (Sound)K-3
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Water Power: Students learn about hydropower plants and work as engineers to create model waterwheels while considering resources such as time and materials, in their designs.Teach EngineeringEnergy
Engineering Design
Civil Engineering & History
3-5▲▲
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Wave Machine: Make a device that will carry a wave and record the wave’s movement.Technovation Families (create a FREE account to access)Waves (Sound)3-5
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