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Free STEM Lessons that Work Well for Remote Learning

Our free STEM lesson plans can help you plan successful remote learning instruction. Here are 12 picks for science and engineering lessons to consider right now.

Image from simple machines activity, one of 12 STEM lesson plans highlighted that work well for remote learning

Schools in many areas remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many schools will finish out the school year with remote learning. Students and teachers may not be gathering in traditional classrooms, but teaching students about physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, and other subjects continues.

Finding the right materials to make remote learning work for you and your students is a big part of the challenge for teachers right now. Our free STEM lessons can help!

Our lessons contain the materials you need to successfully teach science as an online learning unit. Discussion questions, step-by-step activities, STEM videos, worksheets, and reflection and assessment materials can all be used with students remotely.

12 Lessons to Try with Students at Home

The following list highlights 12 lessons for hands-on activities that may be a good fit for you and your students right now with students at home. These lessons use everyday materials your students may have available at home, like paper or aluminum foil:

Note: to make it easy to see which lessons may be most useful for your planning, the following grade-level indicators have been used to indicate NGSS-alignment within each lesson:
. The indicators are for convenience only. Educators can always use the scaffolding provided and adapt lessons for use with students in other grade levels.
  1. Defining an Engineering Design Problem with Paper Airplanes: explore the importance of defining criteria and constraints for an engineering project.
  2. Lifting with a Lever: learn about simple machines and how a lever works. Can you use a lever to lift a book with a single finger?
  3. Make a Rain Gauge to Study Precipitation: build a simple rain gauge and start using it to track precipitation.
  4. Make an Anemometer to Measure Wind Speed: build an anemometer from paper cups and then experiment to see how the speed at which it spins relates to the strength of the "wind" from a fan.
  5. Brainstorming for Engineering Projects using SCAMPER: practice brainstorming with the popular SCAMPER method.
  6. Aluminum Foil Boat Design: Surviving the Stormy Seas: extend traditional activities about how much weight foil boats can hold to investigate how boats hold up in waves.
  7. Design a Paper Airplane Launcher: design a launcher that can create longer flight than throwing an airplane using just your wrist.
  8. Engineering Car Crash Safety with Newton's Third Law: explore forces of motion by designing and building a bumper to protect a toy car during a crash.
  9. Fool Your Vision to Find Out How It Works: use optical illusions like seeing a hole in the middle of your hand or colors that aren't present to learn more about vision.
  10. Paper Rockets to Learn the Scientific Method: guide students through the steps of the scientific method with an experiment using paper rockets.
  11. Paper Roller Coasters: Kinetic and Potential Energy: Kinetic and Potential Energy: experiment with a paper roller coaster to find out how kinetic and potential energy help make roller coaster loops possible.
  12. Turn Milk into Plastic!: learn about polymerization and make casein plastic from milk.

We encourage you to browse the full library of 90+ NGSS-aligned lessons at Science Buddies — always free.

Spark Student Interest with STEM Videos

The following videos are from lessons mentioned above. Short videos like these are a great way for students to see an overview of a lesson or hands-on activity before starting.

Anemometer Lesson Plan Introduction
Aluminum Foil Boat Design - STEM Lesson Plan
Video: Paper Airplane Launcher
Paper Roller Coasters - Fun STEM Activity!
Turn Milk into Plastic! Lesson Plan Introduction
Paper Rockets - STEM Activity

Our lesson plans and other resources remain free thanks to generous support from partners and sponsors like General Motors.

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