STEM Activities For a Large Group
When you walk into a classroom that is rooted in a STEM-based approach, you’ll see students working in groups, pairs, or researching something on their own for their group project.
The teacher is then walking around and facilitating questions to the students to help them explore their thinking and learning.
It is much different than the “classic” students sitting at your desks while I instruct you, classroom approach. It is busy, full of engagement, and exploratory. Whether you are a teacher or homeschool parent who structures their whole classroom around the STEM approach or are simply looking for a STEM-based group activity. You are in the right place!
STEM likes to take real-world problems and use them to explore possible solutions. The good news with this, is that many STEM-based projects can be turned into larger group projects. We’ve created a list that is well structured for big groups and categorized by topic.
I’ll hit on specific ways you can adjust per age group.
Science Group Activities
Group science experiments are the BEST!
You can create hypotheses together, compare differing hypotheses, and collect data on group predictions. You can expand learning, ask questions, and create other experiments from the original. Science STEM-related group activities provide an opportunity to expand into a realm of new ideas.
Oil Spill Experiment
Take this oil spill experiment for an example. You can scale this one in different ways to fit your age group. You can also scale this to fit for small groups or large groups.
This experiment invites a real-world issue (navigating environmental oil spills) and supports students in exploring what is the best way to clean up an oil spill. The key is to make sure you don’t use too much water!
Magnetic Slime Experiment
A group activity with simple ingredients can spark a sense of fascination. Once you’ve made your magnetic slime, then bust out magnets or other items that will work with the magnetic ingredients. This is a fun one for any age!
Are you looking for some easy and quick experiments for kids? Please take a look at our article, 6 Easy No Prep STEM Activities that Kids LOVE!
Technology Group Activities
Use the world of technology around you to get creative with STEM technology group activities. Bust out the iPad, use the computer, or better yet, break apart a computer.
Computer De-Construction Activity
This is a fun tinkering group activity! You’ll need recycled technology parts from an old dial-up phone, printer, or keyboard. See what you can find at a local recycling center or donation spot.
Next, you’ll need safety goggles, wire cutters, and a screwdriver. Make sure that the items have been unplugged and not active for quite some time.
Then, happy de-constructing! Have the students break apart the technology items and explore their internal parts. Ask questions like, “what do you think that part does? Do you think this is used in other tech items? How would you sort this part?”
Stop Motion Story
Create a stop-motion story as a class! It is a fun way to invite in so much creativity and see how your story can come to life with real-life objects using an iPad.
All you’ll need are figurines to represent your story and an iPad. Work in big groups or small and create your very own story. This helps kids see what goes behind the scenes from start to finish in real-life stop-motion films.
Engineering Group Activities
Dust off your hands for some hands-on building. One of the big reasons why we love STEM so much is its hands-on approach. This really comes to life in these engineer-based group activities.
There is nothing more than thinking of an idea and using your very own hands to build it.
The Egg Drop Experiment for Large Groups
Don’t let Humpty dumpty down with this group activity! Use any and all recycled material you have. The group constructs a safety holder for their egg.
The key is to use the right materials to nestle the egg so it does not break for the big drop. The kids can start by brainstorming what types of materials might be best, and create a blueprint for the construction.
Code a Lego Maze
This lego maze group activity can be categorized as a tech and engineering group activity. The kids get to build their own maze that aligns with the code that they use.
This lego maze activity can also be adjusted to fit what your students know about coding. You can start as young as 5 with this fun maze-building coding activity!
Kids love Legos, and for a good reason, they are awesome! We gathered a list of the best STEM LEGO Engineering Kits this year.
Math Group Activities
You may think that math might be tricky when brainstorming group activities, but truthfully there are a plethora of options.
Sometimes you just have to get a bit creative. A key tip we want to recommend is to find STEM math group activities that are hands-on. Learning math in a tangible way can make it fun and exciting.
Post-It Number Match
This is one of the many reasons why we love this simple post-it number match group activity. It uses movement, reading, and visuals to help children learn math concepts. We also love this one because you can shift it to meet any age group.
Whether your child or student is learning how to count, add, subtract, or multiply, this group activity is for you. You simply need post-its, butcher paper, markers, and painter’s tape. Post large butcher paper all over the room with math problems, pie charts, or dots to represent numbers. Then hide post-its all over the room that match with the answers on the butcher paper. You can do it as a whole group or break kids up into smaller groups.
Wrapping Up STEM Activities For a Large Group
A final key tip when searching for or creating STEM activities for large groups. Don’t stress, and keep it simple. Let the kids lead the way! An easy activity like elephant toothpaste can turn into a conversation around chemical reactions.
Kids can then start to ask questions like, “what happens when soda and vinegar mix together?” The key is continuing to engage them and ask questions to get them curious about what they want to learn more about.
You don’t always have to plan something elaborate for a large group, although sometimes that is useful. Just remember that kids are in the driver’s seat when it comes to STEM activities, and you are there to be their co-pilot!
For another fun group activity that is more focused on older kids in the classroom, check out our article, Acids vs. Bases: Fun Activities to Teach Kids!