STEM Resource Guide

Cool STEM Websites


  • Code.org: No one is too young (or old, I might add) to code. Learn how to build an iPhone game, write your first computer program, draw in JavaScript and much more.
  • Engineering, Go for It! (eGFI): Discover the nuts and bolts of engineering. This website contains advice on careers, entertaining info on all kinds of fields and links to the eGFI magazine.
  • EPA Students: Searching for news on the environment, homework resources, info on contests or ideas for an environment-based school project? Check out this website run by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Exploratorium: One of my favorites. The website of the San Francisco-based Exploratorium is jam-packed with interactive activities, videos, apps, links and more.
  • Extreme Science: Extremely interesting. Here you’ll find wild and weird facts about nature, resources for science projects and info on all kinds of world records.
  • How Stuff Works: I visit this website every day. It has hundreds upon thousands of articles that explain the wonders of science (and almost everything else on the planet).
  • Museum of Science + Industry Chicago Online Science: Apps and activities and videos, oh my! Play games, watch baby chicks hatching, create virtual chemical reactions or use forensic science to analyze different types of candy.
  • NASA Education for Students: Career information, image galleries, NASA Television, features and articles … whatever you’d like to know about aerospace, you’re sure to find it here.
  • NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA): SEMAA was developed to increase the participation of historically underserved K-12 youth in STEM fields. School activities and summer sessions are held throughout the nation.
  • NOVA: The website for PBS’s popular science show is overflowing with videos and articles. Explore the wonders of evolution, nature, physics, math—practically any STEM subject that rings your bell.
  • Science Buddies: Get stuck on science. This website has over 1,000 ideas for science fair projects, project guides, project kits and detailed profiles of STEM careers.
  • Science Channel: Question everything. Along with a rundown on the Science Channel’s TV programs, this website has plenty of videos, quizzes, games and the latest science news.
  • STEM-Works: In addition to articles and job information, STEM-Works has stocked their site with interesting activities. Test your skills in the reptile quiz. Rescue an athlete in the Bionic Games. Or, simply follow the path of great whites with the Global Shark Tracker.
  • TechRocket: A year-round online learning destination for kids and teens. Use the promo code “MIDSFREE” to get a free first month!
  • Tynker: A computing platform that allows children to develop programming skills through fun, creative courses. Join the millions of kids from around the country learning to code with Tynker!

STEM Challenges and Contests


  • Siemen’s We Can Change the World Challenge: You have the power to save the planet. In Siemen’s K-12 environmental sustainability competition, teams from across the country compete to improve their own communities. Lots of prizes.
  • Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision: ExploraVision is a K-12 science competition with a difference. Teams of two to four students work with a teacher to simulate the challenges of real research and development.

STEM Awards


  • The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes: This annual prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders (age 8 to 18) who have made a significant positive difference to people and/or the environment. The top 10 winners receive a $5,000 cash award to support their education.
  • The NEED Project’s Annual Youth Awards Program for Energy Achievement: NEED’s annual award was established to recognize K-12 students who achieve excellence in energy education in their schools or communities.
  • President’s Environmental Youth Awards: The PEYA program celebrates K-12 students, school classes, summer camps or youth organizations that are promoting environmental stewardship. Every year, one outstanding project from each region is selected for national recognition.
  • Resources and Initiatives


    STEM Career Resources

    • Bureau of Labor Statistics K-12: The U.S. Department of Labor has been busy. Here you’ll find charts, maps and many other resources on careers and the U.S. economy.
    • WeUseMath.org: Ever wondered (as I frequently did) when you’re going to use math in real life? This website on math careers has more than a few answers.

    Government STEM Initiatives

    • Educate to Innovate: Launched in 2009, Educate to Innovate aims to move U.S. students from the middle to the top of the heap in science and math achievement. It’s spawned a number of federal efforts and philanthropic initiatives (see below).
    • STEM AmeriCorps: This multi-year initiative is focused on placing AmeriCorps members in STEM non-profits (such as FIRST) to work in underserved communities.
    • White House Science Fair: At this science fair, the President serves as the host! Students are honored for innovative projects, designs and experiments while the White House streams the event live.
    • Women in STEM: In collaboration with the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has instigated a number of efforts to increase the participation of girls in STEM subjects.

    Philanthropic STEM Initiatives

    • Change the Equation: Led by CEOs, this nonprofit seeks to mobilize the business community to improve the quality of STEM education across the U.S.
    • Connect a Million Minds (CAMM): Sponsored by Time Warner Cable, CAMM is a five-year, $100 million philanthropic initiative that aims to inspire students to develop STEM skills.
    • US2020.org: The ultimate aim of this nonprofit is to mobilize one million STEM mentors annually by 2020.
    • Youth Inspired Challenge (YIC): Created by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), YIC is designed to expand the impact of STEM learning outside the classroom.

    STEM Fun for Elementary School Kids

    Cool STEM Websites

    • Funology: At Funology, science is bound to get interactive. Make a tornado with water. Build a Jurassic Park terrarium. Or, simply torment your siblings with endless jokes about bugs and insects.
    • Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics: Your parents might be interested in this. Curated by the U.S. Department of Education, this website contains math activities (to be completed at home, at the store and on the go) for preschoolers and elementary kids.
    • Kids Do Ecology: Every kid should be an ecological hero. Learn about biomes, blue whales and data collecting. You can even create your own classroom experiment. Available en Español.
    • Kids.gov: From imaginary jungles to ion experiments, Kids.gov has plenty of resources for a rainy day. Watch an animation on thunder and lightning or take a virtual field trip to the National Zoo.
    • The Kids’ Science Challenge (KSC): Hands-on science activities, games, cool videos, scavenger hunts … this website is full of fun stuff. KSC also hosts a free, nationwide science competition for students in grades three to six.
    • NASA Kids’ Club: At NASA Kids’ Club, it’s perfectly okay to fool around in space. You can use your science and math skills to explore Mars, construct a fleet of rockets or search for NASA spinoffs in your garage.
    • NASA Space Place: Build your own spacecraft, play space volcanoes or browse through a gallery of sun images. When you’re at the Space Place, the universe is the limit.
    • National Geographic Kids: Which do you think is cuter: the puffer fish or the clown fish? On this website, you can vote in polls, take part in eggs-periments, watch videos, play puzzles and learn amazing facts.
    • Weather Wiz Kids: Meet meteorologist Crystal Wicker. She’s put together a website that explains everything about the weather. Find fun facts, games, flashcards and photos, plus get answers to your meteorological questions.
    • TechRocket: Learn programming languages, graphic design in Photoshop, and more! Use the promo code “MIDSFREE” to get a free first month!

    PBS Kids

    • Cyberchase: Help Jackie, Matt and Inez use math to protect the digital universe from evil. Don’t worry: Cyberchase has lots of math games, videos and activities to aid you in your quest.
    • Design Squad Nation: Design anything (!) your mind might imagine. Through Design Squad challenges, videos and tutorials, you’ll discover all there is to know about engineering principles.
    • The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!: Pre-K STEM games, activities and videos galore. The adventurous Cat in the Hat is even ready to lead you on an exotic math safari adventure
    • The Greens: Wondering what you can do to protect the planet? The Greens have some great ideas, including games, activity guides and their very own carbon calculator.
    • Lifeboat to Mars: Explore the world of biology with this free online game. In one simulation (Microland) you control hungry microbes. In another (Ecoland), you have to balance out the space station’s ecosystem.
    • Zoom: Hot science and cool ideas. You’ll find all kinds of activities and experiments on Zoom’s website, including things like lemon juice rockets, crazy straw bridges and bubble cities.

    STEM Contests- Elementary


    • Junior FIRST® LEGO® League: Are you a LEGO® fiend? Then this is the contest for you. You’ll use LEGO® bricks to design and build a moving model; then, you’ll assemble a Show Me poster to showcase your solution. For kids age 6 to 9.
    • NSBE KidZone Elementary Science Olympiad: Collect a team and test your science skills in 18 different events at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) National Convention. Open to grades three to five. Those in kindergarten through second grade compete in a non-competitive league.
    • Perennial Math Tournaments: A virtual math tournament (via videoconferencing) for both teams and individuals. Open to grades three to eight.

    STEM Camps- Elementary

    • Audubon Nature Camps: Audobon offers a ton of Nature Camps throughout the country. Beginning in April, they start taking applications for Wild Birds Unlimited Scholarships.
    • Camp Invention: Daydreams become discoveries at this summer day camp. Created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention presents essential STEM concepts through creative hands-on activities.
    • Camp KAOS: To infinity and beyond! These cool flight and space adventure-themed camps take place at the Smithsonian-affiliated Kansas Cosmophere and Space Center (KAOS) in Hutchinson, Kansas.
    • Destination Science Camp: Spend a week this summer creating robots, building a digital music system, training an electric-powered chameleon or even preparing for a mission to the moon! Held at 130 locations in six states.
    • Digital Media Academy Adventures Camp: Digital Media’s award-winning camps cover everything from cartoon creation to computer programming to advanced robotics with LEGO® EV3. For kids age 8 to 12.
    • Engineering for Kids: Engineering for Kids is an education company for kids age 4 to 14. It offers a variety of STEM programs, including in-school field trips, birthday parties, workshops and camps.
    • Engineering Summer Camps: Interested in building the world’s future? The Engineering Education Service Center has put together a state-by-state list of engineering summer camps.
    • iD Tech Camps: The sky’s the limit at iD Tech’s day and overnight camps. Make your own video game, program your own app or even code in Java.
    • KinderCare® Summer Camps: From the wacky wet science of water to the basics of surviving in the wilderness, KinderCare offers a variety of programs for pre-K through school-age kids.
    • Science Explorers: Sharks and submarines, potions and slime, castles and catapults .. whatever you love, these science summer camps have just the activity for you. Offered in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
    • Youth Digital Summer Camps: Design 3-D models for Minecraft, create your own video game or even direct a 3-D animation! These camps focused on digital technology are held in various southern cities. For kids age 8 to 16.

    STEM Career Resources- Elementary



    • Career Aisle: Elementary: Dreaming about what you want to be when you grow up? These videos about jobs in science, technology, engineering and math can help you decide.

    Note: There are plenty of state and regional organizations that didn’t make it onto my list. If you’re interested in local camps, scholarships and after-school activities, I also recommend checking with your teachers and school.

    Science and Math Games & Apps- Elementary

    • Amazing Alex App: Amazing Alex has a lot of crazy physics challenges in need of your inventive solutions. You can even build and create your own. Brought to you by the creators of Angry Birds.
    • Angry Birds Space App: Those whacky (and wildly successful) birds are now playing their physics puzzles in space, where gravity does some pretty strange things!
    • Every Body Has a Brain!: Plunge headfirst into your amazing brain with songs, animations and mini-games. The complete game is available for purchase as a CD-ROM or digital download.
    • Geo Walk: 3D World Factbook App: Geography nuts rejoice! This educational app contains pictures and facts on hundreds of places, plants and animals.
    • Kinectic City: An amazing collection of science experiments, games, activities and challenges. You might choose to run the blood cell relay race or use a computer model to build your own interstellar slush business.
    • Max and the Magic Marker App: In this fun physics-based game, you’re in complete control of Max and his incredible magic marker. There are 15 puzzle levels, with challenges, secrets and rewards in each.
    • Move the Turtle: Programming for Kids App: You don’t have to be a computer genius to code! With this app, any kid can learn the ABCs of programming in a graphic environment.
    • Seasons! App: Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you. In this app, you’ll learn how to identify various weather situations in different seasons. For kids age 3 to 6.
    • Sid’s Science Fair App: Sid from PBS’ “Sid the Science Kid” has three science games for your entertainment pleasure: Gabriela’s “Collection Inspection,” May’s “Chart It!” and Gerald’s “Time Machine.” For kids age 3 to 6.
    • Team Umizoomi: The cheerful animated characters from Nick Jr.’s TV program offer lots of math games and activities for preschoolers.


    • Geometry Quest App: Travel the world by solving geometry challenges along the way. You’ll receive passport stamps for perfect quests. Covers Common Core standards 3MD, 3G, 4MD, 5G, 6G, 7G and 8G.
    • Math Blaster: Do you have what it takes to save the galaxy? You’re going to need your math skills to complete your training missions in this free online game.
    • MathBoard App: One for the parents. This useful app walks kids through the steps to solving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations. There’s a handy scratchboard area where kids can work problems out by hand.
    • Motion Math: Pizza! App: Pizza, pizza! In this math-based game, you buy ingredients, design signature pizzas and sell them to customers (hopefully at a profit).
    • Motion Math: Questimate! App: How fast is the world’s fastest train? How many jellybeans fill up a soccer ball? In Questimate!, you get to make up your own questions.
    • Mystery Math Town: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to rescue the fireflies hidden in Mystery Math Town. Be warned: you’ll need your math skills to unlock all the rooms and passages on your quest!
    • Numbers League: In the Numbers League, only math can save the day. You’ll use everything from addition to negative numbers to assemble a team of superheroes and capture a horde of villains.
    • Umigo: Bored with everything? The crazy characters at UMIGO might have the answer. Their interactive games are just right for building math and critical thinking skills.

    STEM Fun for Middle School Kids

    Cool STEM Websites

    • The Big Brain Theory – Discovery Channel: Competitors on this TV show have just 30 minutes to come up with a solution to an (seemingly) impossible engineering challenge.
    • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Bill’s entertaining television episodes cover everything from comets to the science of music. Have some fun with hishome demos.
    • Chi Alpha Mu: Otherwise known as the National Junior Mathematics Club, Chi Alpha Mu is the younger sibling of Mu Alpha Theta. Check out its list of contests and summer grants.
    • Environmental Health Student Portal: Interested in learning more about chemicals, air quality and water pollution? This website has videos, games and experiments to help you along.
    • Kids Ahead: A STEM bonanza. Kids Ahead is packed with all kinds of resources, including scavenger hunts, videos, articles, links to local activities and fun events and info on cool jobs, that inspire and excite.
    • MathMovesU: Hone your math skills with online games, virtual thrill rides and national competitions! MathMovesU also offers a variety of scholarships and sponsorships.
    • MythBusters – Discovery Channel: The folks at MythBusters use experiments to bust rumors, myths and urban legends. (During their Cannonball Chemistry experiment, they accidentally drove a cannonball through the side of a house.)
    • Sally Ride Science: Founded by America’s first female astronaut, Sally Ride Science hosts a number of student programs, including science festivals and overnight camps.
    • Science Bob: Bob is a science teacher who loves to experiment (often on Jimmy Kimmel). His website has videos, links and plenty of ideas for build-your-own experiments and science fair projects.
    • SciJinks: It’s all about the weather. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and NASA put together this educational website to teach kids about meteorology and earth science. Check out their games section.
    • Scratch: Designed for kids age 8 to 16, Scratch is a place where you can program your own interactive stories, games and animations. A project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.
    • TechRocket: A great learning tool for kids interested in programming, graphic design, and more! Use the promo code “MIDSFREE” to get a free first month!

    STEM Games and Apps- Middle School

    • Auditorium: The Online Experience: Auditorium is a beautiful and challenging puzzle with many different solutions. One game reviewer called it “part puzzle game, part light sculpture, part musical instrument.”
    • CSI: Web Adventures: Based on the T.V. series, this immersive adventure allows you to solve your own forensics case. Levels range from beginner to advanced.
    • DimensionU Games: DimensionU has developed lots of games that tackle STEM skills. Use math to reveal the mysteries of Xeno Island or join forces in a race to disengage a bio-digital virus.
    • Gamestar Mechanic: Learn to design your own video game! Explore game-based quests and take courses to build your skills.
    • Machinarium: An incredibly slick point-and-click adventure game. You’re a robot who’s been tossed on a scrap heap and must solve a series of puzzles to make it back to the city, save the girl and beat the bad guys.
    • Mathemagics Mental Math Tricks: Amaze friends and parents with these quick (but impressive) mathematics tricks.
    • Minecraft: Minecraft is a popular 3-D block-building game that pushes your imagination to the limits. Protect yourself against nocturnal monsters or a build a giant one-of-a-kind creation.
    • National Geographic Games: Journey deep into the nano-world. Build the greenest city in the universe. Prepare for the apocalypse. Some of these games are free; some must be purchased.
    • Portal 2: A mind-bending action adventure game built around physics principles and environmental puzzles. Navigate portals and battle against a power-crazed artificial intelligence named GLaDOS. Suitable for teens.
    • Quantum Conundrum: Your uncle has disappeared. He’s left his Interdimensional Shift Device behind. And his house just got very weird. Welcome to the physics-based puzzle game known as Quantum Conundrum.
    • Robots for iPad App: Everything you want to know about robots in one easy app. Robots for iPad has 360-degree views, lots of articles and specs and hundreds of photos and videos.
    • You Can Do the Rubik’s Cube: You knew there had to be a game completely devoted to it. Unlock the secrets of the world-famous Rubik’s Cube.

    STEM Camps- Middle School


    • Ambition Program: Boldly go where no kid has gone before. Immerse yourself in a six-day aviation-themed learning adventure at the National Flight Academy in Florida.
    • Audubon Nature Camps: Audobon hosts a huge number of Nature Camps throughout the country. Beginning in April, they start taking applications for Wild Birds Unlimited Scholarships.
    • Camp Euclid: A Mathematics Research Camp: Participate from virtually anywhere! Camp Euclid’s six-week summer camps are held online. Collaborate with fellow students on solution-defying math problems.
    • Camp KAOS: Discover the thrill of space. These exciting flight and space adventure-themed camps take place at the Smithsonian-affiliated Kansas Cosmophere and Space Center (KAOS) in Hutchinson, Kansas.
    • Digital Media Summer Camp for Teens: Digital Media’s award-winning summer camps are for teens age 12 to 17. Learn about game design and development, programming and apps, filmmaking and visual effects or 3-D modeling and animation.
    • Earth Camp: Explore the wonders of Arizona’s Sonora Desert. You’ll camp in the wilderness, scan the night sky at the University of Arizona Sky Center and become an expert in sustainability and water resource issues.
    • Engineering Summer Camps: Fancy some problem-solving this summer? The Engineering Education Service Center has put together a state-by-state list of engineering summer camps.
    • The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC): Live (and play) on a real college campus. Designed to support underrepresented middle school kids, these popular summer science camps are located across the country.
    • iD Tech Camps: Make your own video game. Program your own app. Code in Java. At iD Tech’s day and overnight camps, practically anything is possible.
    • Northern Illinois University STEM Camps: Northern Illinois University holds STEM summer camps that allow middle school kids to engage in interdisciplinary activities. Students learn through classes, hands-on activities, and more!
    • Physics Wonder Girls at Indiana Wesleyan University: Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Physics Wonder Girls camp offers middle school girls the opportunity to take part in hands-on physics experiments, projects, physics-based games, and science tours.
    • STEM Summer Institute at MIT: During the summer, STEM offers a five-week math and science institute at MIT for students entering grades six through nine. Field trips and racquet sports included.
    • Youth Digital Summer Camps: Design 3-D models for Minecraft, create your own video game or even direct a 3-D animation! These camps focused on digital technology are held in various southern cities. For kids age 8 to 16.
    • Youth Empowered Action (YEA): YEA is a week-long overnight camp for youth age 12 to 17 who want to change the world. Workshops include “Planetary Problem Puzzles” and “A Million Ways to Make a Difference.”
    • Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program: Launch yourself into computer programming, robotics and space engineering. MIT’s five-week STEM curriculum will immerse you in space and provide you with hands-on experience programming SPHERES (Synchronized, Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites).

    STEM Career Resources- Middle School

    • Career Aisle: Middle School: Wondering what the future might hold? Explore some of the options available to you in science, technology, engineering and math. Lots of videos.
    • Kids.gov Jobs: Get the skinny on every job under the sun. Wondering what marine biologists do? Want to watch a video on becoming a veterinarian? You’re in the right place.
    • iON Future: If website browsing isn’t your style, you can always play this free STEM career exploration game. It’s geared toward middle school and early high school students.
    • NASA Look to the Future: Careers in Space: You don’t have to be an astronaut to work in the space program. NASA has a list of other professions, including robotics engineer, computer scientist and oceanographer, for you to consider.

    Note: There are plenty of state and regional organizations that didn’t make it onto my list. If you’re interested in local camps, scholarships and after-school activities, I also recommend checking with your teachers and school.

    Contests- Middle School

    Science and Technology Contests


    • Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge: In this one-of-kind contest, you’ll be challenged to create a one- to two-minute video describing a new and innovative solution that can solve an everyday problem. The grand prize is $25,000 and an international trip!
    • eCYBERMISSION: By tackling a mission (such as alternative sources of energy) with your team, you have the chance to win $5,000 in savings bonds and a STEM-in-Action grant to put your solution to work in your community.
    • FIRST® LEGO® League: Design, build and program your own robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology! Score points on a themed playing field and develop solutions to real-world challenges.
    • Future City Competition: If you can imagine it, you can build it. Working with an educator and engineer mentor, you’ll plan a city using SimCity™ software, research solutions to an engineering problem and build tabletop scale models with recycled materials.
    • National Stem League (NSL): Formerly known as the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge, NSL offers four different contests for middle school and high school students. You can engineer a fast, efficient and stable racing car in the Racing Challenge, teach a robot to navigate a course in the Rover Challenge, transition to renewables in the Energy Challenge or do something completely new in the Innovation Challenge.
    • National STEM Video Game Challenge: Submit your original game design made with tools like Gamestar Mechanic, Scratch and Kodu. The winner receives an AMD-powered laptop computer with game design software and $2,000 for his or her school.
    • NSBE Jr. Bridge Magazine Contests: The National Society of Black Engineers sponsors a variety of contests that challenge you to demonstrate your STEM skills or promote awareness around issues in STEM.
    • NSBE Jr. Explorer Technical Innovation Competition: Go head-to-head with other student scientists at the NSBE Annual Convention. Middle school and high school students are eligible. You must be a paid NSBE Jr. member to participate.

    Math Contests

    • AMC 8: Test your math skills in this 25-question, 40-minute multiple choice contest (held every November).
    • MATHCOUNTS Competition Series: MATHCOUNTS holds a series of “bee-style” contests in over 500 local chapters. Top teams advance to the state competition and then to the National Competition in May.
    • MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge: Create your very own math video with your friends and classmates and be in the running to win a college scholarship!
    • Perennial Math Tournaments: A virtual math tournament (via videoconferencing) for both teams and individuals. Open to grades three to eight.
    • Rocket City Math League (RCML): Sponsored by Mu Alpha Theta, RCML is a year-long, four-round math competition. Trophies are mailed to top-ranked middle school and high school students at the end of the year.
    • U.S.A. Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS): Pit your problem-solving skills against some of the toughest conundrums out there. Because of the level of difficulty, USAMTS allows students a full month or more to work out solutions.