Welcome to 5 Days of STEM Activities, where I’ll be sharing 5 days of actual activities and resources for you to share with your STEM-lovin’ students at home! Stay tuned all week for the fun…
I have to say that one of the things I most enjoy about our local homeschool co-op is the educationally-oriented extra-curricular clubs and activities they provide.
And one of my all-time favs is the Science Club run by a friend of mine (who also happens to be a Master’s level educated Chemist). Being that my sweet middle schooler loves all-things-STEM, and I’m not necessarily geared that way, I’m learning quite a bit alongside her during club meetings.
Middle schoolers are all about hands-on, and given a little guidance, are quite capable of doing usually more than we give them credit for. Putting the kits together clearly wouldn’t be a problem for our kids, but the club teacher decided to go a bit more in depth to give them a fuller learning experience; so she decided to make this a two-week process. Of course, if you’re doing this at home with your own family, you can pace it however you’d like – but you might have some trouble pulling your kids away from it!
The kits arrived packaged with everything we needed to complete the project. AND, the booklet that comes with the kit has lots of learning suggestions and info, so even a non-science person like me can dig into learning with the kids.
The first week she reviewed basic principles of electricity with the kids, discussed how solar energy and batteries work together, and they painted the pieces of their cars.
And the following week we put the kits together. You can see the solar panels that were included in the picture above. I appreciate that all the pieces were of really good quality. So many time I’ve ordered kits that were, um, shall I say “not quite up to par?!” The kids put the cars together, attached motors to the underside of the cars, and installed the solar panel on top.
Last but not least, they got to try out their products on the road! Trying them out individually, then racing against each other, they tweaked various construction aspects as well as the angle of the panels to the sun. Much as any good scientist would, they also discussed what variables they could introduce to the project, such as varying the light source and type, changing the road surface, etc.
All in all – our middle schoolers had a great time with each other and with the learning process as well! We were not disappointed, and are looking forward to completing our next kit from Pitsco!
Score “win-win” for this homeschool mom 🙂
Find some neat kits for your own family or homeschool group on the Pitsco Education website.
And follow them on social media for creative STEM ideas and new product announcements:
Looking for more from our series on STEM Activities for middle schoolers?
Here’s the whole kit-n’-kaboodle:
Day 1 – Solar Cars
Day 2 – Crazy ’bout Crystals
Day 3 – STEM Resource round-up
Day 4 – Water-testing
Day 5 – Help: We have a Science Fair project coming up!
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