Build & Investigate

Inspired by SAE’s award-winning A World In Motion (AWIM) STEM curriculum, these hands-on STEM activities are fun, engaging, and educational.

Featured Activity

Engineering Inspired by Nature: Build Your Own Flyer

STEM Starter

Learn about seed dispersal by taking a nature walk. What keeps a seed in the air the longest? Design your own parachute to replicate how seeds travel!

Download Worksheet

Physical Science: Forces, Energy, Motion, & Sound

Let’s Learn About…Momentum!

STEM Starter

Read The Three Little Pigs’ Sledding Adventure and bring your own “great escape” story to life! Build a simple ramp by using books and experiment with launching toy cars from different heights to help your driver get past an obstacle. How will the ramp height affect how far the car will go? How can you make it go faster?

Bonus: Prepare a presentation to share what you’ve learned with your family!

Build It: Let’s Design Vehicles Like an Engineer!

STEM Starter

Design and build your own car, boat, or plane using items found around your house. Imagine what your vehicle will look like and how it will travel. What is it made of? Will it have wheels, a sail, or wings? How will it be powered?

Sketch a picture of your design, make a list of materials, gather your supplies, and start building!

Material Ideas: Food/cereal box, bottles, cans, paper towel/chip tube, straws, toothpicks, dental floss, Legos/blocks, bar of soap, spool of thread, or K’nex

Build It: Test Your Vehicle Like an Engineer!

STEM Starter

Let’s put your vehicle to the test! Find out how far, how sturdy, and how fast it can go. Think like an engineer and use your results to improve your design!

Make a design log to record distance, speed, durability, and other observations (How does it travel? Can it do tricks? Can it travel over or through obstacles?). Based on the results, try to improve your design and test again.

Let’s Explore Sound!

STEM Starter

Sounds are all around us, just stop and listen! Take a walk with your family. What sounds do you hear? Water? Trees? Wind? Birds? Other Animals? What about machines or cars? Think about how each sound is made and what makes them different.

Let’s Make Music!

STEM Starter

Make your own musical instrument from items found around your house with this fun STEM Starter. Watch the video below of unique instruments for inspiration.

Picture the kind of musical instrument you want to make. Will your instrument have strings? Will you need sticks to play it? Look for materials around the house or outside and start making your own music!

Material Ideas: Cans, straws, paper plates, paper towel rolls, sticks, leaves, rocks and string

Let’s Learn About Rockets!

STEM Starter

How do rockets work? Read “The Rocket Age Takes Off” by Stephen Krensky to find out!

Dr. Goddard’s rocket invention was pretty amazing and it changed the course of human history. Write a story in which you invent something amazing. What is your invention? What can it be used for?

Let’s Design and Build Tall Towers!

STEM Starter

Can you build a tower as tall as you are with items found around your house? This engineering-inspired STEM Starter is all about building tall towers.

Imagine your tower. What materials can you find around the house? How will your materials affect what you build? How will you design your tall tower to keep it from falling over?

Material Ideas: Legos, cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, plastic cups, cans, and pillows

Build A Skimmer!

STEM Starter

Design, build, and test a Skimmer that will glide across a smooth surface, propelled by a small fan, hairdryer, etc. What sail shape works the best? Which recyclable materials will you use?

Prepare a presentation on your Skimmer design, what you’ve learned in testing, and explain why different sails perform different paths.

Photo: Babble Dabble Do

Download Worksheet   How to Video

Computer Science & IT: Programming & Cybersecurity

Let’s Explore Hands-on Programming! 

STEM Starter

What if you could write a program to have a robot do your chores?  Write detailed how-to instructions that are exact enough for a friend  or family member to follow successfully. If they  skip a step, make assumptions, or get stuck—they  just might find some funny results!

Let’s Talk About Programming Basics!

STEM Starter

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a computer programmer? Pick an activity you absolutely love. Are you expert enough to give someone basic step-by-step instructions to do the same activity…blindfolded? Design a program by breaking down the task into smaller steps.

How Does the Internet Work?

STEM Starter

How do those YouTube videos get to your devices? Today’s STEM Starter is all about how information flows through the internet! 

Life & Earth Science: Weather & Ecosystems

Take Learning Outside with this Hands-on STEM-inspired Nature Walk

STEM Starter

Go on a nature walk with your family. Look for different seeds (ex. acorns, dandelions, pinecones). Which seeds are lighter and float in the air? Which seeds are heavier and drop right to the ground? Why do you think seeds are different? How do they travel?

Bonus: Identify the seed that stays in the air the  longest.

Listen to the interactive storybook "Once Upon A Time in the Woods" by Stephen Krensky to learn more bout seed dispersal.

Make Your Own Cloud Viewer!

STEM Starter

Clouds can paint a picture of the weather. What story are the clouds telling you today? You can make a cloud viewer! Just find an empty paper towel roll then take it outside with your family to see what the sky holds. Do you see any clouds? Draw a picture of the colors and shapes you find.

Bonus: Use cotton balls or play dough to create your own cloud formations.

Build Your Own Helicopter!

STEM Starter

In this fun STEM activity inspired by nature, learn how to make your very own flying toy with things you already have around the house. 

What Makes a House a Home?

STEM Starter

Read “My Home is Better than Yours!” Stephen Krensky then design and build a dream home for your own favorite stuffed animal with this fun, engineering-inspired STEM Starter.

Before you start to build, think about your animal’s needs...How big or small is its home? What does it eat? Does it need a lot of light or prefer the dark? Where will it sleep? Does it like to run or climb? Does it spend time in caves or water? Find materials around your house and start building!

Share your STEM designs and builds #saestemathome


Resource Spotlight: GM

General Motors and SAE International have teamed up to provide K–college students with immersive, hands-on STEM educational experiences guided by industry experts. These programs aim to inspire curiosity in STEM education for all students regardless of gender, ethnicity, or economic status-- ultimately transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s engineers.

We are happy to share these additional STEM@Home activities from GM that will help young learners thrive this year — in school or at home.

Learn More