What Is S.T.E.A.M?

S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and was all about understanding how these different subjects interact and are completely reliant upon one another. It is often taught with hands on application to truly appreciate the interconnectedness of these topics and develop a much deeper appreciation for them as well as a more solid comprehension than the typical lesson plans of reading from a text book and being tested on what was read. By experiencing real world application of these subjects they become much less abstract and distant for the individual, and instead become something that they can really experience and actually enjoy.Art was recently suggested to be included in S.T.E.M., turning it into S.T.E.A.M as the argument was made that innovation in our world is driven by critical thinking and creativity which are key skills developed with art. Through the addition of art within the mindset of S.T.E.M. we are able to not only further our understanding of the subject content in a traditional sense, but are also able to begin to think critically and creatively about issues and topics within the fields which drive innovation in our world today.

Steam Projects

Try out some of these fun projects you can do from home!


When some different chemicals mix they can bond together and change. This is called a chemical reaction. Some examples include burning wood, rusting metal, plants making oxygen through photosynthesis, and countless others!



Always have a parent or guardian help you while performing these experiments. Whenever dealing with chemicals always be sure to have your safety goggles on. Rubber gloves will also be helpful to make sure you do not spill any on your hands. You may want to put a disposable tablecloth down on your work area, or perform the experiment outside if it is nice enough.



1- 16oz Bottle (an empty water bottle will work perfect)

3 tablespoons water

½ cup of hydrogen peroxide (6% concentration)

1 tablespoons yeast

1 tablespoons dish soap

Food coloring (a few squirts will do)

Safety glasses/goggles

1 small cup



What do you hypothesize (think) will happen when you mix the reagents?



1. Pour the water into your cup

2. Add the yeast into your cup and carefully stir it together, then set aside

3. Carefully add the hydrogen peroxide to your water bottle

4. Add the dish soap to your water bottle and give it a gentle swirl to mix up

5. When ready, quickly add the cup of water/yeast mixture to your water bottle and observe what happens!


Further Experiments:

What do you think will happen if you add more hydrogen peroxide to the mixture?

What do you think will happen if you add more water to the mixture?

What do you think will happen if you add more yeast to the mixture?

What do you think will happen if you add more dish soap to the mixture?

Can you think of any other questions and therefore experiments?


Trajectory is the route an object (projectile) takes while different forces are acting on it. Often, on Earth, the course it takes is parabolic. A parabola looks like an oval cut into half with two symmetrical sides. It takes on this shape because there is generally an upward force, which makes up one half of the parabola; a downward force (gravity), which makes up the other half of the parabola; all the while it had a directional force acting on it.
When throwing a football down the field, the quarterback will arc his throw upwards to gain additional flight time while also picking a direction for the ball to go besides straight up. The football will move yards down the field in the direction thrown until gravity pulls it down all the way and the ground (or another player) prevents further movement.



Always make sure to not aim your “Trajectory Demonstrating Apparatus” at anything other than designated non-living targets.



1 Toilet Paper Tube
1 Pencil (Sharpened or not)
2 Rubber bands
*If needed- 1-hole puncher



When testing the trajectory of your apparatus, how far do you think it will go? Can you hypothesize ways that may make it go farther?



1) Cut the toilet paper tube along its length (“hotdog style”)
2) Cut approximately 1 inch off of the tube and set it to the side
3) With the remaining portion of tube, roll it as tightly as possible and tape down so it keeps its new shape.
-Begin along the line your first cut, folding it into the tube and roll across in that direction so it is a longer tube
4) Take your pencil (or hole puncher) and, carefully, punch a hole through towards one end of the long tube you just created.
5) Force your pencil through the hole and push it until equal sides of the pencil are sticking out each direction.
6) Take another pencil (or hole puncher) and, carefully, punch two holes into the little piece of toilet paper roll you had set aside. One hole should be set a little in on the shorter ends.
7) Cut each of your rubber bands so that they are each a longer string as opposed to a circle.
8) Tie one end of each rubber band to an end of the pencil
9) Tie the other end of the rubber band through one of the holes put into the smaller piece of tube
10) Grip the longer piece of tube so that the pencil, rubber bands, and “sling” towards the bottom of your hand
11) Place a projectile (such as a marshmallow) in the sling, give it a tug back and let it go to see trajectory in motion.

Further Experiments

What would happen if you use a thicker rubber band?
Does the angle you fire affect the distance the projectile goes?
What would happen if you use longer rubber bands?


From a very young age most of us learn all about shapes, as well as developing a joy of building things (playing with blocks for example). However, there is not always a very good understanding on how shapes play a very strong role in how to build things that last. Here you can experiment with just that!



Candy Gum Drops or marshmallows
Tooth picks
Small amounts of tape to hold paper together



Use the toothpicks to stick into your marshmallows/gumdrops and try to build as tall a structure as possible.
Utilize paper as you see fit (hint try cutting it and rolling into small columns)
To test the strength, go grab some small weights or objects and slowly place them on your structure to see how much weight it can support!


Additional Experimentation

How much weight can you make 1 piece of paper support 2 inches off the ground?
What shapes can support the most weight?
Using what is given, how many ways can you support your structure?


Tie dyeing clothes is a fun and colorful activity for people of all ages. There is also a lot of science taking place as well to make your shirts remain colorful. Cotton cloth utilizes capillary action to “pull” liquid into the fabric and spread it out. This is exactly how towels work to keep us dry and is even seen in a drinking straw when placed in a beverage. The small amount of liquid that gets pulled above the level of the drink is caused by capillary action. Once within the fabric the dyes chemically bond with the fibers of the cotton which is why they remain even after washing it.



White Cotton T-shirt

Kool-Aid packets (several) or a larger container of each color you would like (generally 3 or more different colors)


Squeeze bottles work best, otherwise you can carefully pour from a regular water bottle for each color



  1. Lay out your T-shirt opened and flat on your surface.
  2. Pinch the center with your fingers and spin your fingers so that the T-shirt swirls tightly together into a small compact swirly ball.
  3. Rubber band your shirt with several rubber bands that all intersect (cross over) at one single spot, for example the middle of your swirled ball. This will separate sections of your shirt into fractions.
  4. If your shirt becomes unraveled, do not worry, simply lay it out and try to swirl it back together.
  5. Mix some Kool-Aid into a bottle with water and repeat with as many different colors you want.
  6. Doing one fraction of your shirt at a time, sprinkle some of your Kool-Aid water onto the shirt making sure to cover all the areas you want to as well as pouring enough so that the shirt absorbs some of the color.
  7. Set aside for several hours (7 or 8) so that the Kool-Aid has time to deeply soak into the shirt.
  8. Carefully take of the rubber bands and open up your shirt to see the new design you made.
  9. Wash with very small amount of detergent and dry before use.


Additional Experiments

Can you create different designs by adjusting the geometry of the folded up shirt?

Would this work with a synthetic (manmade fabric)? Why or why not?

Would other sources of dye work? Why or why not?


A major problem with developing math skills is often the inability to relate them to “real life”. Pizza is both tasty, but can also be used to develop simple counting, addition, subtraction, and fraction skills in a fun and delicious manner.



Mini pizza crusts (English muffins can work, as well as small pita pockets, cut open)
Spaghetti sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Additional ingredients as desired (such as precut pepperoni, diced onions or green peppers, etc)
Optional: “Funny Money”



1) Count out how many mini pizzas you would like to make by counting out the number of crusts you lay out

2) Count out how many pizzas you would like to have sauce and spoon out the amount desired

3) Count out how many pizzas you would like to have cheese and sprinkle out the amount desired

4) Decide how many pizzas you would like to have particular toppings and count them out [i.e. 4 pepperonis on this one: 1, 2, 3, 4; 3 green peppers on the next one: 1, 2, 3]

5. Enjoy!

Additional ways to Add Math

To add fractions to the activity you can decide what fractional amount you would like to have a particular topping (½ cheese, ½ cheese and pepperoni) as well as cutting the pizzas into fractions (this one will be cut into fourths, the other will be cut into thirds).
To add money to the activity you can assign a cost to each ingredient and give out a certain amount of “funny money” that can be used to buy the ingredients to have real life experience making purchases.
An additional layer on adding money to the activity is by making your own pizza business where you can assign a price for the ingredients you have to sell them for while also “buying” them at the above prices. This allows for further practice as well as an additional layer of value.

Learning STEAM concepts through MAKING

Kids and adults make things all the time. We make food in the kitchen. We create games. Kids

build forts. Adults tinker with tools and create for the home.

Making is a motivating, authentic way to learn STEAM concepts. Making could be:

Fixing a zipper on an old jacket and customizing it with patches.

Taking a too-small favorite shirt and finding a way to still wear the image

Building a robot

Designing balloon-powered car

Building with legos

A great way to start making is to look around your home and find something that you still love,

but can’t use anymore for some reason.

Use design thinking to make that item useful again.


  • What is the problem?
  • How could I solve this problem? – try to brainstorm as many solutions as you can! No

idea is a bad idea at this point.

  • What solution best solves the problem?
  • What materials do I already have?
  • What materials might I need?
  • Are there directions on how to do this project anywhere? – it probably is a good idea to

start looking into how other people solve this problem! Have an adult help you if the

search is tricky.

  • What safety rules do I need to know or follow to make my project a success?

Then, start researching and gathering materials. Maybe even practice whatever you are going

to do before trying it out on your favorite thing. Watch You-Tube videos and check out project

websites. Make a comprehensive materials list and figure out what store sells what you need.

Ask for help to get required materials if necessary. Once you get your materials, decide if it

would be a good idea to try what you want to do on a practice item first. The first attempt isn’t

always perfect. Sometimes what matters most is that we try and try again.

Good luck!

Submitted by SpaceLab, a non-profit makerspace in Mokena

STEAM Projects Done In The Library!

Space Lab

Check out one of the local maker spaces!

Space Lab Projects

Here are some of the projects from spacelab

Paper Circuits


  • Image (In this case, a shamrock)
  • 1 coin battery
  • 2 red LED
  • Copper Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Binder Clip
  • Scissors



  • Punch holes where you would like the LED to shine through.
  • Lay your image over a blank sheet of paper and mark the holes.
  • Trace your battery in the corner of the paper.
  • Fold a corner over and trace the battery from the top (almost like how you would rub over it to make a circle).
  • Mark the fold line.
  • Plan your copper tape paths. Most run two pieces of copper tape parallel to one another.
  • The Plus side of the battery and the plus side of the LED (longer leg) should correspond.
  • The Negative side of the battery and the negative side of the LED (shorter leg) should correspond.
  • Place the copper tape on the paths you planned, and connect the LEDs with Scotch tape.
  • Fold the corner of your paper over the battery to complete the circuit and hold with a binder clip.


21st Century: Elaborates, refines, analyzes, and evaluates their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts

ISTE 4c Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design


4-PS3-2 Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.


Downloadable PDF With Helpful Images