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Simple STEM Activities and how they Help build Teamwork

How do STEM Activities Help?

STEM activities are great for the first weeks of school and beyond! They are interactive, project based, and really get students engaged and thinking. We know as teachers how important it is to build a positive classroom community. STEM activities are a perfect way to help build your community while students are also learning something new (or a few new things)!  

Why Use STEM Activities In The Classroom? 

There are three main reasons STEM activities are so helpful in the classroom and why you should teach STEM in your classroom every year.

stem challenges

Reason #1: Group Skills

Teachers have a natural want for students to work together. We often come up with amazing group projects and have these fabulous ideas of how it is all going to work perfectly. You start the project and it all comes crashing down with groups arguing, tattle tailing, not working together, and more. STEM activities are perfect to help get students working together. You can easily assign jobs (or students can pick them), set rules, discuss group work skills and more.

Reason #2: Team Building

As mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, the classroom community is an enormous deal. Teachers want a classroom which gets along, participates together, and learns side by side. We want our classroom to run like a well-coached football team. STEM activities have so many team building factors like problem solving, cooperation, discussion skills, to just name a few. The Back to School STEM Theme is full of STEM activities that are perfect for the first few days of school. They are easy to set up, and stress free for teachers, allowing the focus to be more on team building and classroom community skills!

Using simple STEM activities like Tall Towers and Bridge Build is another great way to work on team building. Each of those STEM projects only uses materials like paper. By using “simple STEM” activities, your students can help focus on team building without a lot of resource or material discussion. 

Reason #3: Creative And Critical Thinking

Yes, those two types of thinking are being put together for reason number 3. STEM challenges are all about critical thinking and how to solve the problem. But, students need to put on their creativity hats as well! Not every STEM activity will be straightforward and easy to solve through a critical lens. Students may need to think outside of the box or want to think outside of the box to create or solve. 

stem activity

How To Integrate STEM Activities Into Other Learning Areas? 

STEM activities lend themselves to so many learning areas. From social studies to ELA, you can easily integrate STEM into other learning areas. One of my favorite STEM activities is the Famous Landmarks challenges. You can have students research about famous landmarks around the world (Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc). This STEM activity ties easily into social studies and history. Plus, after completing their towers, students often want to learn more about the different towers and their history (win-win). 

Almost all STEM activities involve some sort of measurement or numbers. This integrates math into the mix. Students may work with rulers, or have to calculate different formulas or number sentences to complete their project. Even if they are not using numbers, critical thinking is a HUGE part of math and is used constantly during STEM activities. After an easy way to incorporate math? In the Middle School STEM projects, students are given a budget and must turn in purchasing coupons as they buy and use supplies, keeping them accountable for their use of materials and costs.


You might think that STEM can not easily integrate into ELA. However, students can give oral presentations on their projects or they can write about their process, project, or failed ideas. You can easily integrate STEM projects into your ELA block. Many teachers see ELA and reading and writing using books as resources. Although many students gravitate towards books about towers, bridges, or space books after completing a STEM project. They got started on the reading journey through STEM. STEM allows for so many opportunities where students can read and write! 

stem with a budget

Get To Know Your Students! 

Bringing STEM activities into the classroom can allow teachers to get to know each one of their students a little better. You’ll easily be able to observe who has a strong leadership personality, who may be more of a quiet achiever, and who may have the best group work skills yet. Watching students' behaviors and personalities through STEM activities allows you to see how students interact with their peers when they do not believe you are watching. This is often like watching your students during unstructured time or recess as well! These observations can be very eye opening and interesting for many! 

A student who may seem quiet and laid back during whole group instruction may feel more comfortable in taking a leadership role when in a small group. A student who is often very loud during group work may be told by a quiet student that it is disrespectful to shout over group members, thus teaching this child a valuable lesson. 

Remember, students are also learning the ropes of team building and group skills. So review and discuss the expectations before each project, especially if it is the beginning of the year! 

STEM activities are very informative and fun during the first few days and weeks of the school year. Plus, you can gather so much information about your class while you observe and help when asked. Enjoy these STEM projects with your students!

Not sure where to start with STEM, this introductory pack may be just what you need...

STEM Starter Kit

No PREP STEM Resources