Media for STEM-based Learning
In this series, we’ve touched on where kids tap into organizations like 4-H , Girl Scouts, and Robotics Clubs to get hands-on experience with STEM-based endeavors.
But STEM learning doesn’t have to happen only in a specific program. If you have a kid that’s really in to science, technology, engineering, and math, but doesn’t have time or opportunity to explore those topics in a formal capacity, there are a lot of media resources out there that are engaging and fun and can feed their desire to learn.
Below are just a few of the many books, websites, apps, YouTube channels, and podcasts I’ve run across in searching for resources for my own kids. This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but maybe there are a few resources listed that you haven’t heard of. Please feel free to add your own in the comments section!
“The Cartoon Guide to…” series by Larry Gonick
This series explores different science and math topics through cartoon illustrations. There are guides for physics, chemistry, genetics, algebra, and calculus as well as history.
“Horrible Science” and “Murderous Maths” series
These two series take an irreverent, non-linear, highly engaging –and sometimes decidedly British- humourous — look at their respective topics. There are also Horrible Histories and Horrible Geography books that follow in the same vein.
Basher Science books
Simon Basher’s series of books focusing on chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, biology and other topics are uniquely illustrated, giving concepts life through characters that Brasher illustrates. We have the chemistry book, and each element is given a personality that fits their chemical properties. It’s kinda cute.
Teach your kids about electronics with FREE interactive and hands-on robotics, coding, electronics, and general electrical engineering lessons/projects found on EEME. They also have a monthly electronics kit subscription you can purchase.
Scratch is both and individual and collaborative programming environment developed by MIT. Kids can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animations with people from all over the world. To say my older one is obsessed is an understatement.
We were early adopters of DragonBox. Using digital manipulatives, kids learn algebraic thinking in a game type environment. When we first purchased the app, there were only the two algebra versions. They’ve since added a few more math topics to cover younger and older kids. Numbers (ages 4 – 9), Big Numbers (ages 4 – 9), Algebra 5+ (algebra age 5+), Algebra 12+ (algebra age 9+), and Elements (Geometry).
A stargazing app is an absolute must if you have a budding astronomer in your midst. We’ve tried several night sky maps, but none that have an actual miniscope that can attach to your device like this one!
Bytesize Science is a series from the American Chemical Society that uncovers the chemistry in everyday life.
Crash Course Kids
Our favorite brothers – John and Hank Green – produce this bi-weekly show that looks at Earth, habitats, space, chemical reactions, engineering, and much more. New uploads happen every Tuesday and Thursday.
It’s Okay To Be Smart
Joe Hanson, Ph.D., the host of It’s Okay To Be Smart, is “a curious group of atoms in a curious universe.” With titles like “Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Concussions?” and “We’ve Got Ants In Our Plants!” you could find yourself getting lost in this channel.
Smarter Every Day
Local YouTube celebrity Destin Sandlin produces this series. His natural curiosity and desire to demonstrate and explain complex ideas in simple terms makes for an interesting combination of science and fun.
Advanced physics subjects made accessible. Fluid dynamics? No problem. Cosmic inflation? Piece of cake.
Brains On! is a podcast featuring science and kids with a different kid co-host each episode. “It’s a science lesson for your ears.” Every episode explores a theme that’s fun. My girls request this one all the time.
No list of science resources would be complete without Neil DeGrasse Tyson! StarTalk Radio is Tyson’s award-winning podcast discussing the cosmos and the latest technology.
From exploding lithium batteries to memory-triggering smells, Everyday Einstein makes sense of the science in your everyday life.
What are some of you favorites? Share them with other STEM-crazy kids in the comments!
Karen Gann had a marketing communications career in high tech before taking a sharp turn into stay-at-home-momdom and homeschooling. She grew up in the Tennesse Valley, lives in Huntsville, and is wife to the wittiest man alive, mother to two head-strong and independent girls (they're adorable, really), and human caregiver to the cats. Addictions include Facebook, Pinterest, NYC's Radio Lab, coffee, food, and politics (not necessarily in that order but sometimes all at the same time). She's also the marketing director for Pandia Press in her spare time.
That’s a great list! I also really like the videos that https://thekidshouldseethis.com/ highlights. “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them”