A lot of schools follow NGSS middle school science standards, which means that STEM is a big part of the science classroom.
While my daughter’s middle school follows the Texas science curriculum, I like to supplement her science education with NGSS projects, because she is interested in science and I want to ensure that she gets all of the hands-on learning she can, especially during summer break.
I’ve had several parents and teachers ask me if we are going to have more middle school STEM activities on STEAMsational, and that is something we’re going to be focusing on the rest of this year and next year!
But for now, enjoy this first list of middle school STEM projects!
Need more STEM activity ideas? Check out our complete list of STEM activities for kids here, and you’ll also want to check out these Preschool STEM activities, elementary STEM activities, and toddler STEM activities!
What does STEM Look Like in Middle School?
Before middle school, STEM is all about introducing scientific concepts and learning how to think like a scientist.
But in middle school, it is the first time that most kids are exposed to the application of STEM. In middle school, kids focus on how to use STEM topics to solve real-world problems.
- Questions or problems at the middle school level must meet these criteria:
- A real-world problem or issue
- An issue must be relatable to the students
- The problem has multiple solutions
- Middle schoolers can work to approximate a solution that could work in the real world
Always start STEM projects with a question. For example, if children ask, is there a better way to protect packages during delivery (for example, if more robots are in charge of delivery), then you can do the egg drop challenge as a solution.
If you don’t know what sort of questions your middle schooler could answer, you can check out the Next Generation Science Standards.
What does a middle school STEM activity look like?
The secret to a good STEM activity in middle school is keeping things open-ended. Just like in the real scientific world, in middle school STEM, there are no “right” answers in science.
During the lesson, a middle schooler should apply scientific knowledge and other STEM skills to creating potential solutions for problems, then testing them out and recording the results.
If a child does their best, then they are doing STEM correctly, even if their experiment or hypothesis “fails.”
Our Favorite STEM Books for Middle School
STEM by DesignSTEM Education Teacher Lesson Plans, Strategies and Activities Guide – for Grades 5 Though 9 – by School DatebooksSTEM to Story: Enthralling and Effective Lesson Plans for Grades 5-8Arguing From Evidence in Middle School Science: 24 Activities for Productive Talk and Deeper LearningMark Twain – STEM Labs for Middle Grades, Grades 5 – 8An Educator’s Guide to STEAM: Engaging Students Using Real-World Problems
Creative STEM Projects for Kids in Middle School
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite STEM projects for kids in middle school!
Middle schoolers always love the Egg Drop STEM Challenge. There are a lot of questions that this challenge can answer.
Learn about the basics of chemistry with the Iodine and Vitamin C Experiment.
Test the energy efficiency of different window coverings in this Enrgey Efficiency Experiment.
Learn about how to ensure our ecosystems stay healthy and Create your own biome at the same time.
Try this Hands-on Plate Tectonics activity to learn about the earth’s movement.
Try these Electrical Engineering Challenges and learn about circuits.
Middle schoolers love things that explode, and they will particualrly love these Exploding paint rockets.
Build your own 3D atom models to learn about molecular bonding and common molecules.
Make your own Edible bacteria and discover the common shapes of bacteria.
Middle schoolers will love making their own DIY Smart Phone Projector.
Explore the world of physics and car engineering with STEM Balloon Cars.
Explore the water cycle with these Water Cycle STEM Models.
Help astronauts get to the moon wiht this Space Lander Mission STEM Challenge!
Build a better people mover in the STEM Zip Line Challenge.
Middle schoolers will have fun creating the best Paper Airplane Launcher.
Learn about Newton’s laws of motion with this Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion STEM Egg Car Project.
Middle schoolers can learn about the design process with the Cup Holder STEM Challenge.
Build your own working ferris wheel with the Ferris Wheel STEM Challenge.
What are your favorite middle school STEM challenges?