STEM & PBL

More Than 30 Resources for STEM Project-Based Learning Activities

Projects for playdough, propeller cars, pneumatics, and everything in between.

If you’re a teacher or homeschool parent looking for ideas for STEM project-based learning activities, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of terrific STEM project-based learning activities that can be tailored to meet your students’ needs.

STEM, like PBL and inquiry-based learning, activates critical thinking which you can read more about in our Critical Thinking Companion. Our list breaks down the learning activities by subject: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Many of these activities are customizable so they can be catered to toddlers all the way up to high school students.

stem science

Science Activities for Project-Based Learning

  1. Oil spill activityThis one, along with many others, are from a list featured in the article 11 Simple STEM Activities for Kids That Will Stimulate Young Minds by 

  2. The Incredible Shrinking Bag and the Crushed Soda CanThese two garbage science projects from Teach Beside Me take a potato chip bag and a can of soda and turn them into some pretty cool science experiments that are great for elementary aged kids!

  3. DIY DNAIn this activity, learners create a homemade DNA test to extract DNA material from strawberries.

  4. Water Cycle in a BagThis is a great activity you can find on From Playdough to Plato. It all takes place in a tiny little Ziploc bag.

stem technology

STEM Technology Activities

  1. Squishy CircuitsThis activity from STEAMsational involves conducting electricity using two different types of "dough."

  2. Become a LEGO MechanicHomegrown Learners provides some great videos and detailed explanations of how to use LEGO to teach elementary and middle-school aged children about technology, engineering, math, and building.

  3. Create a Stop Motion AnimationThis is a great project to teach beginners about the filmmaking process, whether in elementary or high school. It involves a little bit of storytelling, experimentation, problem-solving, and hands-on technology. The easy-to-follow instructions to create a stop motion video are provided by TinkerLab.

stem engineering

Engineering-Based Activities for Students

  1. Bridge Building Challenge: Using just some glue, craft sticks, a ruler, and some parchment paper, kids can build a bridge and test just how well it will hold up. Busy Kids, Happy Mom provides this bridge building tutorial that can be applied in the classroom or at home.

  2. Build a Catapult: The Kids Activities Blog provides this fun and easy engineering activity using just a few simple craft items. What kid isn’t going to enjoy learning about engineering by launching objects across the room?

  3. Up, Up, and Away: This activity from The Homeschool Scientist gets kids working on building their own custom aircraft.

  4. Propeller Car: Instructables has dozens of great engineering projects for all ages that re fun and simple. This one is about designing a propeller-powered car.

  5. Miniature Robot: Want to show kids how to make their own customizable battery-powered robot? This easy and fun tutorial from Red Ted Art will get them up and running in no time.

stem math

PBL Math Activities Using Hands-on Learning

  1. Early Math Lessons: These simple math lessons are great for younger children to teach the very basics of math. Our Journey Westward brings us these math ideas to teach division and logic.

  2. Go on a Math Hunt: This is another great activity for making math fun. Raising Lifelong Learners brings us this idea for a math hunt that’s great for elementary-aged kids who are homeschooled.

  3. Nerf Gun Math: This fun outdoor activity for teaching basic math is geared towards older elementary-aged children. No Time For Flash Cards breaks down the instructions and materials needed to create this simple Nerf Gun Math game.

  4. It’s About Time: Check out these activities from Education World that are all about teaching how to tell time.

  5. Tower of Hanoi: This is a traditional game where discs of varying sizes are stacked onto rods. The discs are stacked in order with the smallest on top and the biggest on the bottom. They can only be moved one at a time, and can only be placed either on an empty space or on a larger disc.

More STEM Activities

Here’s an extended list of STEM project-based learning activities to try:

  1. Tiny Dancers (Science)
  2. Build a Volcano (Science)
  3. Apple Oxidation (Science)
  4. The Rock Scratch Test (Science)
  5. Build a Pulley Machine (Technology & Engineering)
  6. Money Math (Math)
  7. Mirror Symmetry (Math)
  8. Build a Rubberband Helicopter (Engineering)
  9. The Cork Launcher (Engineering)
  10. Build a Simple Pneumatic Machine (Engineering)

Sites for STEM Project-Based Learning Activities

    STEM to Critical Thinking

    Like we said earlier, STEM activities are a great way to harness learners' critical thinking abilities for awe-inspiring learning. These activities are the perfect companions to our most popular companion, The Critical Thinking Companion. Explore dozens of games and activities, many of which are STEM-related in their own right. Between the lists above and what's in the guide below, you're never going to run out of ideas for terrific STEM learning adventures.

    Critical Thinking Companion Book Wabisabi LearningCritical Thinking Companion Book Wabisabi Learning

    Critical Thinking Companion
    $ 19.95

    Enjoy dozens of challenging critical thinking activities and worksheets, a rubric for assessing critical thinking skills, and much more.... read more