NC CAP has created high-quality STEM lessons in earth science, environmental science, life science and physical science that can be easily integrated into out-of-school time programs, schools, families, and communities. Each lesson contains budget-friendly supplies, differentiation strategies, family engagement activities, NC essential standards aligned lesson plans, and video overviews. STEM lessons will be updated periodically. 

Check out the NC CAP STEM lessons below!

EARTH SCIENCE

Earth Science is the study of the earth, its water, and the air that envelops it. Earth Science is comprised of geology, meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Environmental Science is the study of the environment, human impacts on the environment, and environmental issues.

LIFE SCIENCE

Life Science is the study of life and all living things. Life Science includes ecology, botany, biology, zoology, epidemiology, palentology, and physiology.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE

Physical Science is the study of the inorganic world. Physical Science consists of four main areas: astronomy, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences.

MILLION GIRLS MOONSHOT

ENGINEERING ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES

February
March
April
  • Student Activity: Toxic Popcorn Design Challenge – This lesson introduces youth to the engineering design process as youth work in teams to design both a product and process to safely remove “toxic” popcorn and save the city.
  • Student Activity: Engineering a Flotation Device – Youth use the engineering design process to design a device that uses simple chemical reactions to create a floatable device for a cell phone.
  • Student Activity: Design Your Own Snazzy Sneaker – Youth use the engineering design process to design an environmentally sustainable shoe that meets the design requirements they specify.
  • Group Activity: Team Building for STEM Challenges – In this team building activity, youth work together to lift an object by using a set of strings attached to a center ring. Each student grabs a few strings and must work together to raise the item in the center. The task requires concentration and communication and introduces the value of teamwork.
May
  • Think Like an EngineerThis activity book of engineering challenges provides an introduction to the skills and process used by engineers. Activities are coded to indicate which of four features of engineering they focus on: Logic, creativity, math, experiment
  • Thinking Like an Engineer – Completing this short survey is a simple way for students to reflect on their own engineering mindset development.
  • Student Activities: TGR Foundation DIY Design Challenges – This series of five DIY, family-friendly projects in English and Spanish use ordinary household items to keep kids engaged and still learning. 
  • Student Activities: EngineerGirl Try This! EngineerGirl Try This! Design Challenge are hands-on activities using common household items. Challenges include: design a mini catapult, paper airplane, and sorting machine.
  • Student Activities: Girlstart STEM at HomeGirlstart STEM at Home was created by Girlstart to empower families and communities in STEM. Find free Girlstart curriculum, STEM resources, effective messaging tips, collaboration opportunities. Join the Girlstart newsletter and receive updated information on other online resources.
June
  • TryEngineering COVID-19 Response eLearning TryEngineering has curated free resources available to support teachers and parents for learning at home.
  • DiscoveryE at Home Engineering  – Tips and advice for engaging youth in the engineering design process and how this youth-centered learning strategy can work for afterschool professionals and families at home.
  • Student Activity: 4 Great Outdoor Activities to Do With Kids This Summer | 4-H  These easy activities are designed to be suitable in a COVID-conscious environment.  Young children play outdoor games, plant a garden, make ice cream, and participate in a scavenger hunt.
  • Student “STEAM” Activity: Art Infused with STEM Learning Activities Makes for a Colorful Time (kindercare.com) This very simple approach to STEM uses outdoor experiences and art to engage young children in math and science discussions. The activities build on curiosity in young children and are very easy to facilitate. 
  • Student Activity: Design Your Own Snazzy Sneaker Youth uses an engineering design process to design a shoe that meets the design requirements they specify.
  • Student Activity: Team Building for STEM Challenges In this team building activity, youth work together to lift an object by using a set of strings attached to a center ring. Each student grabs a few strings and must work together to raise the item in the center. The task requires concentration and communication and introduces the value of teamwork.
  • Guide for Educators: Hear Here: A ‘Pi in the Sky’ Math Challenge | NASA/JPL EduThe “Pi in the Sky” math challenge gives students in grades 10-12 a chance to find solutions to real-world problems all while using math and pi just like NASA scientists and engineers.  This structured activity includes hands-on, minds-on extensions. 
  • Posters and Printables For Educators: Free Printable Summer Math Games (123homeschool4me.com) Get a free month of activities, videos, and fun experiences.  Appropriate for grades 1-8. Kids “build” a Math Monster who leads them through the activities.  The website adapts to the child’s capacity—gently, but constantly increasing the difficulty of the activities. 
  • For Parents: Top 10 Summer Math Activities | Developing Our MathMINDs | Week 8 – Bing video This is a series of discussions with math experts for parents.  Good ideas about how to adapt to the current situation, take advantage of informal situations, and move forward during the summer.  Ideas and tips like “The Top 10 Ways to Experience Math this Summer.”
July
  • Student Design Activity: NASA’s Favorite House Plants for Space Stations and You – The Grow Network: The Grow Network – Select a plant to grow and keep a record of its change over time. Design a flowerpot for space—what shape works best? How deep does it need to be? What do scientists need to consider to grow plants in space? 
  • Student Design Activity: Design A Crew Module – Use materials that are easy to find at home to build a crew capsule for spaceflight. Practice engineering design process to improve on the original design. Grades 4-8. 
  • Student Design Activity: Straw Towers to the Moon – Let your kids’ imaginations run wild.  Build the biggest tower, or the best balanced, or the most attractive…change the criteria to change the design. Grades K-8. 
  • Student Design Activity: Landing Humans on the Moon Educator Guide – These easy-to-do activities for grades K-8 use the engineering design processes to problem-solve solutions for survival on the moon. 
  • Student Design Activity: Be “Cool” with Popsicle Engineering – Students learn the design process using easy-to-find materials (for example, popsicle sticks and KoolAid) to produce purple popsicles.  Perfect for a summer day with young kids!
August
  • Student Design Activity: Bouncy Ball Factory – Youth engineer bouncy balls that meet particular criteria. Using the engineering design process, they develop and test their creations.
  • Student Design Activity: Paper Table Youth engineer a table from a newspaper that is at least 8″ high and strong enough to hold a book.
  • Student Design Activity: Take Flight – Using everyday materials, youth engineer a glider that can fly straight for 15 feet.
  • Student Design Activity: Keep Your Cool! Design Your Own Cooler Challenge – Youth design a cooler that will keep a bottle of water cool using the engineering design process. They test their prototype and graph their results to determine the effectiveness of the solution.
  • Student Design Activity: Design a Watercraft – Youth engineering a small boat out of straws and plastic wrap that can hold weight.
  • Student Design Activity: Get it Write! – Youth engineering a writing device (pen) using everyday materials. They think about both the (water-soluble) “ink” and the delivery mechanism.
September
October
  • Student Design Activities: Science Fair Project Ideas – School is starting again!  Are you stuck looking for a science fair project? Over 1000 ideas and activities are listed.  And, there’s links to STEM careers associated with the projects!
  • Student Design Activity: Fun Math Games for Kids – Math Blaster – Save the universe as you learn math skills. This free online game engages kids in purposeful, other world (as opposed to “real world”) math. Fun to play alone or with others.
  • Student Design Activity: Cool Math for Kids – Combine math education and skills with the fun of gaming.
  • Student Design Activity: SciGirls | PBS LearningMedia – Videos document girls exploring engineering activities. Each episode features a different engaging activity.
  • Student Design Activity: Fun-A-Day Engineering Activities – Engineering activities for kids include printable instructions and videos. 
  • Student Design Activity: STEAMsational – Fun engineering and construction activities for kids and families. Kids make the connection between STEM and art.
  • Student Activity: Defining Problems, Criteria and Constraints – This activity is designed to help students understand how criteria and constraints limit potential solutions to problems. It includes a practice worksheet to help students identify criteria and constraints in 4 simple scenarios.
  • Student Activity: Criteria and Constraints Practice – This worksheet requires students to identify criteria and constraints embedded in rules for entering a gingerbread house contest.
  • Student Video: NGSS Engineering at Jet Propulsion Laboratory – This video highlights what real NASA engineers need to consider when designing spacecraft and the kinds of trade offs they often have to make. Working collaboratively in teams to prioritize limited resources is a big part of working as a NASA engineer.
November
  • Student Design Activity: Bouncy Ball Factory – Youth engineer bouncy balls that meet particular criteria. Using the engineering design process, they develop and test their creations.
  • Student Design Activity: Paper Table Youth engineer a table from a newspaper that is at least 8″ high and strong enough to hold a book.
  • Student Design Activity: Take Flight – Using everyday materials, youth engineer a glider that can fly straight for 15 feet.
  • Student Design Activity: Keep Your Cool! Design Your Own Cooler Challenge – Youth design a cooler that will keep a bottle of water cool using the engineering design process. They test their prototype and graph their results to determine the effectiveness of the solution.
  • Student Design Activity: Design a Watercraft – Youth engineering a small boat out of straws and plastic wrap that can hold weight.
  • Student Design Activity: Get it Write! – Youth engineering a writing device (pen) using everyday materials. They think about both the (water soluble) “ink” and the delivery mechanism.
  • Activity: On Target – In this activity, students are given a model of a zipline delivery system and are asked to modify or improve the technology so that will release a marble from a paper cup and hit a target.
  • Webpage: Build, Test, Evaluate and Redesign – This webpage provides free materials for educators to improve their engineering teaching. This section provides questions to help youth evaluate their designs and determine how to improve them.
  • Video: Iterative Design: How to solve a ‘lion problem’ – In this Ted Talk, Richard Turere, a young student from Kenya, describes the process he used to develop a system to protect his cows from lions. He describes the ways he improved and modified his original idea until he found a successful solution.
  • Activities/Blog: 10 Team Building Activities for Students – This blog outlines 10 team building activities that can be implemented to help youth develop the skills necessary to collaborate among peers. By accomplishing group tasks, students learn to listen, trust and support each other, while developing life skills such as communication and collaboration.
December
  • Student Activity: Materials and Manufacturing – In this activity based on the story of the three little pigs, students examine the properties, limitations, and durability of a variety of materials, then evaluate which of the materials would be best for building a model house.
  • Student Activity: Engineering Solutions to Freshwater Problems – In this activity, students are introduced to six freshwater supply problems in various locations around the world. Students brainstorm their own ideas for solving each problem and then learn about the specific solutions that engineers have proposed.
  • Student Activity: How High Can a Super Ball Bounce? – In this activity students explore how engineers might use the elasticity of material to help them design products. Working in pairs, they drop bouncy balls from a meter height and determine how high they bounce. Youth measure, record and repeat the process to gather data to calculate average bounce heights and coefficients of elasticity.
  • Student Activity: Community Engineering – This website provides engineering challenges that are community-based and includes learning modules on topics like school gardening, classroom renovation, and designing an accessible playground.
  • Engineering Design Activities on Curiosity Machine – Sign up for hundreds of FREE Technovation Engineering Design Activities with facilitation instructions and videos featuring STEM professionals and mentors.
  • Student Design Activity: NASA’s Favorite House Plants for Space Stations and You – The Grow Network : The Grow Network – Select a plant to grow and keep a record of its change over time. Design a flowerpot for space—what shape works best? How deep does it need to be? What do scientists need to consider to grow plants in space? 
  • Student Design Activity: Design A Crew Module – Use materials that are easy to find at home to build a crew capsule for spaceflight. Practice engineering design process to improve on the original design. Grades 4-8. 
  • Student Design Activity: Straw Towers to the Moon – Let your kids’ imaginations run wild.  Build the biggest tower, or the best balanced, or the most attractive…change the criteria to change the design. Grades K-8. 
  • Student Activity: Team Building for STEM Challenges – In this team building activity, youth work together to lift an object by using a set of strings attached to a center ring. Each student grabs a few strings and must work together to raise the item in the center. The task requires concentration and communication and introduces the value of teamwork.