In recent years, the “T” in STEM has been the most popular discipline in the acronym and has found its way into other disciplines in STEM.
This is why it’s important to teach students about technology, no matter what STEM discipline they’re interested in. From coding to engineering, young learners can do plenty of activities to foster their understanding of STEM tech.
Keep reading to learn some STEM tech reviews to give you an idea of involving technology in each of your STEM classes.
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You can’t give a STEM lesson on any discipline without also talking about technology—or at least not without using it.
Technology has not only changed what students learn, but it’s also changed the way that STEM is taught. Kids are learning through a wide range of activities—from building their own robots to programming their own computer games.
Gone are the days when you need a pencil, paper, and calculator to complete a lesson. Technological advancements have made it possible to learn from anywhere you are if you have a laptop, mobile device, and internet connection available.
Apps and other digital tools are making STEM more accessible, meaning they don’t need the constant attention of a teacher or parent to continue their learning. These tools also expand the extent to which students can learn and teach them other valuable skills such as:
It’s a great idea to leverage apps and other technology in your classroom as you continue to teach STEM to your eager students to keep them interested and motivated.
Let’s take a look at some STEM tech that you should add to your lessons.
Now that you understand the importance of tech in STEM education, you can find ways to incorporate it into your lessons and to further develop your students’ understanding of STEM and technology.
There are several resources that you can take advantage of to enhance your students’ learning experience.
To get you started, here are the six STEM tech reviews of toys and materials that will get your students excited to continue their STEM education.
1. Headphone Kit
You can talk to your students all day long, but the best way to enhance your students’ understanding of STEM tech is through hands-on activities.
This Headphone Kit from KiwiCo not only explains to your students how headphones work but gets them to dive deeper into the process by engineering their own!
This kit has your students build the headphone headband and connect the speaker drivers to experiment with stereo sounds. By building these headphones, your students will learn how speakers turn electricity into sounds, as well as other electroacoustic transcenders.
This headphone kit even gives your students a historical lesson on how modern headphones came about, helping them develop a foundational understanding of what they’re building.
Why We Love It:
- Building a practical, everyday item.
- Comes with all the material you need.
- Great for kids 14+.
Today, you can’t talk about tech without discussing coding. Coding has become not only an integral part of STEM but also a part of our everyday lives. That’s why STEM students must start learning the basics of coding early.
CodeMonkey makes learning how to code a feasible task at any age. With a series of courses, students learn how to code through games and challenges. CodeMonkey’s courses are broken up into three steps:
- Block-based coding
- Text-based coding
- Advanced coding and creation
Your students work their way through each step using coding languages such as CoffeeScript and Python to develop games complete challenges. CodeMonkey supports students from kindergarten to grade 9 to prepare them to become master coders.
CodeMonkey also has resources to guide teachers and parents through their child’s learning, from blogs to complete lesson plans.
Why We Love It:
- Makes coding easy to understand.
- Comes with resources for teachers and parents.
- Activities for every age: K-9
To continue with coding, please check out our article on the Best DIY Computer Build Kits for Kids.
3. Mech-5 Mechanical Coding Robot
Continuing with coding, we have this Mechanical Coding Robot from Snap Circuits.
Designed to inspire young engineers, Mech-5 is a robot that will teach your students lessons about:
By building this robot, students learn the fundamentals of robotics, mechanical engineering, and coding. The kit comes with everything you need to assemble the robot, which is the simple part. The fun comes when it’s time to code your robot to perform actions such as throwing, lifting, and kicking.
If you want to teach your students about tech and renewable energy, Snap Circuits also has robots that do not require batteries. Instead, these robots are powered with water, wind, or sun, teaching your students about what’s possible with green energy.
Why We Love It:
- Easy to build.
- Allows students to code their own robot.
- Great for students age 10+.
4. Light-Chasing Robot Book Set
Circuits are an essential component of technology, so students must have a thorough understanding of circuits if they are to continue with their tech education. This Light-Chasing Robot Set from KiwiCo is the perfect experiment for your students to challenge their knowledge of circuits and grasp more complex science concepts.
Power up this robot by wiring the motors, adding switches, and assembling the model. Your students have two options when it comes to customizing the skin: choose between a turtle and a beetle.
After assembly, get your robot moving using a flashlight. Encourage your students to observe the robot’s movements and watch them figure out how to move it left and right.
Once they’ve mastered left, right, and forward movements, have your students rewire their robot to make it move backward!
This set also comes with a colorful comic book with DIY projects that guide you on how to build your own set of robots, such as:
- A brush bot
- A scare bot
- Remote-controlled car bot
All of these bots can be built using materials you have in your classroom or at home, making it an easy tech activity to do with your students.
Why We Love It:
- Students learn more complex circuit principles.
- Includes skins to customize your robot.
- Ideal for students 14+.
KiwiCo is one of the best STEM subscriptions for kids. You can find our review of KiwiCo here.
5. MEL Science
It’s important for your student to learn about tech and vital for them to learn with tech.
If you’re looking for a subscription-based option that enables your students to take on different experiments and learn new principles every month, this is the best option for you.
MEL Science has a variety of kits that will have your students learning something new every month. This VR Science Simulations Set uses the hottest tech, virtual reality, to give your students a new level of understanding of science.
This set of simulations comes with over 70 VR lessons tests that range from chemistry to physics experiments. The VR set aims to explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way to build your student’s knowledge.
Some of the simulations that you will find in this set include:
- Atom structure: A lesson that discusses the breakdown of an atom.
- Isotopes: A lesson about the structure of different carbon atoms and what isotopes are.
- Periodic table: An introduction to the periodic table, including how atoms are structured.
All of these lessons are included as simulations in the MEL Science VR set, making this an excellent way to leverage technology in STEM lessons. Your students might even become interested in the science behind VR itself!
Why We Love It:
- A unique way of learning.
- A large collection of lessons.
- Lessons suitable for all ages: 8+
Mel Science has a ton of hands-on STEM activities for kids. You can find our review of Mel Science here.
6. Hydraulic Claw
Simply put, hydraulics is a technology that involves the use of liquid. Hydraulics are all around us, from our vehicles to airplanes, so STEM students must learn how they work.
This Hydraulic Claw from KiwiCo can help you explain the basics of hydraulic technology to your students.
Not only does this kit help your students understand how hydraulics work, but it also teaches your students how to engineer a hydraulic claw that works. Your students’ hydraulic claw will be able to pick up and put down items.
This hydraulic claw kit also comes with bonus design challenges that further develop your students’ understanding of this engineering technology.
The kit comes with detailed blueprint instructions and all the necessary materials to build your hydraulic claw, so it’s easy for students to follow along or even build it on their own.
Why We Love It:
- Teaches the basics of hydraulics.
- All the materials are included in the kit.
- Ideal for ages 9+.
7. Sphero SPRK+
Sphero activities are endless! There’s so much that you can do with this fun robot, all while learning to code.
You can check out our list of favorite Sphero activities to get a better idea of everything and an easy way of getting started.
You can program Sphero SPRK+ by using python, or you can use their app as a way of getting started without coding. Sphero SPRK+ has Bluetooth, so your phone will work on any tablet.
Another nice thing about Sphero is they are also waterproof and scratch-resistant. So don’t be afraid of picking up one of these for your little ones.
Why We Love It:
- A fun way of learning to code.
- Made of strong plastic, scratch resistant and waterproof.
- For ages 8 and up.
Technology is how we evolve as humans, and it’s ingrained in our everyday lives. This is why it’s important to not only teach your students about technology but to also use it in your teachings as well.
Technology makes learning more accessible and makes it possible for students to learn anywhere they are.
Hopefully, these STEM tech reviews have given you an idea of how to incorporate technology into the classroom.
For more tech toys, please take a look at our article, Snap Circuits vs. LittleBits – What’s the Best Electronics Kit?