These free STEM websites are wonderful resources for teachers, homeschool parents, and parents who like to supplement STEM activities to kids’ regular school work.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. However, it is not just including these 4 subjects into teaching curriculum. It is more important to teach thinking and problem-solving skills throughout the process. Most STEM teaching is project-based that integrate more than one subjects, because that is how real-world work is. It is really rare that a project is just a science project or math project. Almost all work involves more than one subjects, math project needs science knowledge, engineering work needs math and science, … So STEM is more of a teaching method with an emphasis on the integration of multiple disciplines, instead of a subject.
The free STEM websites we listed below all emphasize thinking skills beyond subject mastery.
Why Teaching STEM?
First, STEM fields are in high demand. STEM jobs in the U.S. are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as other fields. It is important for today’s kids to learn STEM skills to be a competent citizen when they grow up.
Second, as mentioned earlier, STEM teaching focuses on thinking and problem-solving skills, which are critical for any success, be it in a career or in life.
How to Teach STEM with Limited Resources and Budget?
Anyone with experience being a teacher or a student knows it takes both category knowledge and teaching skills to be a good teacher. Teaching skills are not just explaining concepts, but also recognizing students’ knowledge base, learning style and receptive moments, etc. So in addition to activity ideas, it is also helpful to learn how to best ask a question during the process, what questions to ask, what worksheet layout can best encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. Therefore, when looking for good STEM teaching/learning resources, we need to look for all these things beyond activity ideas and worksheets.
Where do you find high-quality STEM teaching/learning resources, especially when you have a limited budget? Today we share 7 free STEM websites with wonderful ideas of STEM activities for kids, many with fully developed lesson plans for teachers, and all put emphasis on thinking skills in addition to subject matters, which is the essence of STEM education.
Free STEM Websites for Teaching and Learning
Teach Engineering is a website sponsored by NSF National Science Digital Library program. It is a searchable free online engineering curriculum database for anyone who is looking for elementary engineering ideas. Every lesson and activity is explicitly aligned to the science and/or math educational standards of the state in which it was first developed and classroom-tested. They also align with the Common Core Math, Next-Gen Science, and ITEEA standards when applicable.
Simple Machines by Lance: Lance designed and published over 40 simple engineering projects for kids. Each has detailed instructions and lesson plans. Most projects are designed for kids from grade 1 to 5, some are for older kids.
Adventures in Math is a site run by Scholastic. It has math curriculums for kids in grades k to 8. What is even more, these math lessons and activities are to help kids understand finance, so they grow up being more financially savvy and responsible adults. Of course, thinking skills are important in lessons.
IXL is a learning website including several learning subjects. It started as a math practice site, so I feel the math content on site is the most comprehensive. It covers math from grade PreK to 12. Users can choose a topic by grade level and topics. It is easy for kids to find the areas they need to work on and practice on it.
HowToSmile is a website with over 3000 science activities ideas for kids from science museums across the US. You can search for activities by subjects and topics, and by age. This is one of our favorite STEM websites.
Science on iGameMom: over the years, we have published thousands of themed science activities under the science category. If you follow iGameMom email notification of the new post, you will receive seasonal and themed science activity ideas for kids of all ages.
Codecademy is a free website teaching kids computer coding. It not only teaches kids coding concepts via games, but also actual coding languages. For kids who are serious about coding, this is a great place to go.
Do you have a free STEM online resource you like? Please let us know!
Another of our favorite STEM resource is the STEAM Kids, a book with 52 STEAM activity ideas for kids.
For more STEM resources, visit 150 Kitchen STEM Activities for Kids and 9 STEM Activities for Preschool Kids