Homeschool Activities

to Engage Your Child in Hands-On Learning

Boston, MA


If you’re struggling to find ways in which to engage your child in STEM learning, the best way to do so is to turn to hands-on, experimental learning. The following elementary level activities will have kids on their feet, exploring various aspects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Salt Pendulum:

A pendulum is an object that swings back and forth from a fixed point, due to gravity. The amount of time that it takes a pendulum to swing back and forth is called the period, and this period is determined by the amount of force that is applied to the pendulum when it swings.

What you will need:

  • Paper cup

  • String

  • Salt

  • Food coloring

  • Large Poster Paper

  • Hole Punch

Instructions:

Color a cup of salt with food coloring. Punch four holes in the top of the cup, equally spaced apart from each other. Tie a string to each of the holes and knot the string together at the top of the cup. Poke a small hole in the bottom of the cup. Tie a longer string to the clump of four strings at the top of the cup and attach this to a high object, or make it just long enough to dangle from your hands. Lay the poster paper on a flat surface below the pendulum. Have your child hold their fingers over the hole at the bottom of the cup while you pour in the sand. Have them release their fingers and swing the pendulum, causing the salt to pour out in a circular motion.




DIY Pulley System:

Pulleys are a form of simple machines that are used for many things, such as constructing large buildings, beginning thousands of years ago. Pulleys are a great example of how simple machines use physics to get a job done more easily.


What you will need:

  • Small basket or container

  • Rocks and heavy objects

  • String

  • Command hooks

  • Poster board

Instructions:

Place the poster board in an upright position against the wall. Anchor the Command hooks onto the poster board, so that they do not have to go on the wall. Tie the string to the basket on one end, and leave a long strand on the end of the string. Loop the string around the command hooks in different patterns. Have your child determine what pattern makes it the easiest to lift the objects on the pulley.


Gumdrop Structure:

Different shapes can serve as the base for structures, but some are stronger than others. This activity teaches students that triangles are a strong base shape and are commonly used in engineering.

What you will need:

  • 10 gumdrops

  • 20 toothpicks

  • Ruler

  • Book

Instructions:

Using the gumdrops and toothpicks, have your child design a structure that is able to hold a large book. They can push the toothpicks into the sides of the gumdrops to connect the structure. In addition, you can have your child draw diagrams and record data to determine what structures hold the book up the best.




For more ideas on how to engage your child in homeschool learning, visit: https://thehomeschoolscientist.com/stem-activities-for-kids/

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