Welcome to the home of STEM Club! Here you will find information on how to coordinate a STEM Club as well as a variety of hands-on, inquiry based science activities to use in your middle school science classroom.
I love teaching science but like many homeschool parents, I found that I often didn’t follow through on plans to do labs because the planning and effort to set-up was so time consuming. I thereby began to invite other homeschool families to join us, knowing that holding myself accountable to others would assure I followed through. STEM Club evolved from this and is now a homeschool science coop that I began in the fall of 2013.
STEM is an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The term is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development. You may also see it as STEAM with an added discipline of the arts.
STEM or STEAM Club is essentially an opportunity for students interested in these disciplines to engage in hands-on, inquiry based activities in a group setting. This can be either as a TAG program, an after-school extracurricular club, or a homeschool co-op.
To get started in coordinating a STEM Club in your local homeschool community, reach out to other parents or students with an interest in science. Is there an adult willing to teach? Query to learn more about one another’s interests and skills.
Perhaps a nurse could teach a 6-week unit on human anatomy. An engineer could teach a unit on simple machines. A fly fishing enthusiast could teach a few lessons on aquatic invertebrates. Think outside the box and be creative.
For me, the choice was easy. I love teaching science but find that because it is sometimes so time consuming to set up labs and materials, it tends to slip through. I knew that if I invited other homeschool students to join us in our studies, I would be more enthusiastic myself.
Coordinating a STEM Club requires a variety of tools and resources – depending upon the science or math discipline you choose to focus upon.
Free Science Curriculum for Middle School I’ve compiled a list of free science curriculum for middle school – journals, textbooks, teachers manuals, and complete unit studies.
Home Science Tools provides homeschooling families the resources they need to create meaningful, hands-on science opportunities. You’ll find a variety of lesson ideas as well as the equipment and tools needed.
WonderMaps – from Bright Ideas Press These are wonderful software tools which allow you to customize maps. You never have to worry about copying a book page or finding your CD. These maps are web based so pull them up when you need them and they will always be current!
You’ll also want to have a variety of lesson plans and activities to choose from. Here are a few I have shared previously and that have been successful in both a classroom and co-op setting:
Cycles & Ecosystems – Learn how plants and animals interact with each other and with their environment through these important ecosystem cycles.
Let’s Get Dirty: Soil Horizons & Particle Size – Things to look for in soil are color, texture, structure, depth, and pH. Dig in with these hands-on activities.
What Lives in Our Soil? – Hands-on activity to investigate the life within our local soils
Forms of Energy & Simple Motors – Build a simple motor with just wire, a battery, and a magnet
Basics of Electricity – Includes PowerPoint presentation
Forms of Energy: Potential & Kinetic Energy – Wind Powered Cars and Swinging Mass lab activities