Ideas for pre-primary school STEM activities

During our webinar a few weeks ago, we have received quite a few questions from pre-primary teachers looking for STEM activities to organize with their toddlers.

In this age, children’s curiosity and willingness to put their hands on pretty much everything (some of you are smiling while reading this, I am sure), are your biggest advantages when looking for activities!

There are two main aims when you are creating activities for this age group:
– Create a safe environment for children to explore using their senses.
– Create natural learning experiences that lead to discovery and inquiry.

Below I am providing two easy to set up activities and some additional ideas that will help you get started:

Disappearing Egg activity

This egg experiment is great for preschoolers and older kids! If you are using this with older kids then you need to know that the egg dissolves because eggshells contain calcium carbonate, the main ingredient in many antacid tablets. This dissolves in the acidic vinegar to produce calcium ions (which stay dissolved in the vinegar) and carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide produces the bubbles that you will see while the egg is dissolving. Now that you know the science behind this cool activity, here is everything your kids need to give it a try!

Materials needed: a glass jar with lid (from jam, tomato sauce etc.), white vinegar, egg


–  Gently place the egg into the mason jar.

– Fill with vinegar leaving 3-4cm space at the top. It is important to leave room at the top of the jar or it might burst from the carbon dioxide gas produced by the reaction.

 – Cover the jar with the lid and ring. Again, make sure it is not too tight so that the gas can escape the jar.
– Leave for 2 days, remove the remaining pieces of shell (if any) and then enjoy your shell-less egg!



– You can add some food coloring in the vinegar. It will dye the membrane (just for fun!)

– You can tell kids that what they are holding is literally one giant cell. You can explain to them that cells are microscopic little things that make up all living things but eggs are very large cells in general.

Magnetic container


This very simple construction will provide you with a great opportunity to introduce kids to magnets, their properties and show them which materials are magnetic and which not. Toddlers can spend loads of time fishing out magnetic objects so make sure to allow them enough time to explore and reflect on their findings.


Materials needed: A large plastic container, various small magnetic materials (i.e. paper clips, coins, scissors) and non-magnetic materials (i.e. Lego blocks, small pencils, erasers, small plastic figures), rice or lentils, magnets


– Fill the container with rice or lentils (red ones to add some color)
– Place all your magnetic and non-magnetic objects in the rice/lentils and stir well in order to hide them
– Give the magnets to the kids and ask them to pull out as many objects as possible



-Explain and show them in advance what magnets are and the main difference between magnetic and non-magnetic materials

– Prepare for each box a grid with pictures of the items you have hidden in it. Ask kids to fish out using the magnets all magnetic objects and add a smiley face next to them.


Other ideas: 


Looking forward to hearing all about your experiences and any other STEM activities you have tried with your pre-schoolers!

* Both images are from

SDW2018 activities ideas for schools!

With February upon us, I am sure you are all busy planning your STEM activities for STEM Discovery Week 2018! To help you in this creative process, please find below some ideas for activities that can be organized in your school:


Through online chats teachers and their students are invited to meet experts and find out new insights directly from their field.

To participate in a chat, teachers usually need to register their class in advance as only a limited number of classes is admitted to join and slots are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Teachers then need time to prepare with their class and get ready to meet experts, discuss with them and with other classes from all over Europe.

Information on upcoming chats organized by different projects, are made available at:


The topic of a STEM debate will depend upon the age of the students. To start with, teachers will need to identify an interesting topic to really get their students engaged. Here are a few topic ideas that can serve as inspiration but teachers, please do not forget that the final choice of the debate topic will depend on students’ age and maturity

  • animal experimentation
  • clinical trials
  • energy use and sources
  • recycling
  • space exploration
  • organ donation

After the controversial topic of interest is chosen, teachers will either have to present this topic and both sides to their students or have the students take the topic and research both sides of it to find out what side their position is on. Students should then be broken into groups. Once they are in groups, they can discuss their thoughts on the issue. If teachers decide to give students a topic, then they can send them off to research that topic. Next, students can work in groups to record information in support of their position.

The easiest way for students to prepare for a class debate is to get their thoughts onto paper. They can write an essay where they write supporting arguments and show their evidence. Another option is to write a position paper where they take a position and must support that position with factual evidence. A third option is to use a graphic organizer to find their particular position on a topic. With this option, students must develop arguments both for and against the topic. On the debate day, they must choose which side they most strongly are for, or against. A final option is to create an argument outline, which is a basic outline of their position on the topic with supporting evidence of how they feel about the topic.


Science exhibitions provide innumerable benefits to students, which encourage both their educational and social development. Perhaps one of the most valuable benefits is the chance for students to show, explain and talk about their projects to others. It is particularly rewarding for fellow students, parents and the wider community to have an opportunity to see and appreciate students’ many weeks of hard work.


A science festival is a festival that showcases science and technology using the freshness and liveliness that one would expect from art or music festival. A science festival can be the umbrella for various activities including lectures, exhibitions, workshops, live demonstrations of experiments and discussions. The core content is that of science and technology, but the style comes from the world of the arts. Science festivals can be organized as part of a whole school activity or extend to the local community.


Opening a forum on a specific STEM topic of interest and asking students to comment on the posts is a nice asynchronous activity. After choosing the tool to be used, a few more steps are needed in order to ensure its success.  Expectations and guidelines need to be set in advance. Learners must know their role in the online forums, as well as how they should behave when interacting with their peers. Small details like how often are they expected to post or whether they can start their own discussion or thread are particularly important.  On the other hand, if you want to stick to shorter responses and have more control over the online discussions, then a threaded message board could be the ideal solution. When choosing an online platform, think about the learning objectives of the eLearning course and the needs of your audience. If they are a bit reluctant to join the online discussion, consider a social media platform that they are already familiar with. For example, you can create Google, LinkedIn, or Facebook groups and invite your students to become members.

Professional visiting school

In order to prepare students for what the future employment market holds, they need to have information about their future careers paths. By cooperating with STEM professionals teachers are able to bring current, real-world job experiences to their class, demonstrate the various career possibilities in STEM, have an impact on learning, motivation, and involvement provide you and your school with contacts in local businesses. A good place to start is the “STEM Professionals Go Back To School“,   a STEM Alliance scheme that encourages volunteers from STEM industry (technicians, scientist, engineers, researchers or employment and recruiting managers) and teachers to organize career talks and collaborative activities in schools.

The programme is running all year long, and functions as a database of existing and new initiatives. A guide for schools on how to organize such visit is also available here.

Visit to company / industry

Through company visits, students and teachers would get a better idea of the nature and operation of different STEM-related industries, ranging from IT and telecommunications to Space industry and chemicals.

Although visits of this type can be very rewarding, there are some issues i.e. possible health and safety risks, highly sensitive and very expensive equipment, that need to be taken into account during the planning phase. These guidelines will help ensure that any site visit goes as smoothly as possible.


Webinar refers to a presentation, lecture, or workshop that is transmitted over the web. During a webinar, participants have the opportunity to interact remotely and in real-time with the expert(s) leading the webinar, by asking, usually in written, their questions.

To sign up for a webinar organized by a 3rd party teachers usually, need to register through the registration link available on the webinar page. As soon as the registration is received, teachers will receive a confirmation email with the link to access the webinar. Information on planned webinars can be found through the Scientix events.

If a teacher wishes to organize his own webinar for his own class then the clear scope and objectives first need to be determined. Once the speaker/expert is also identified then a script for the actual webinar needs to be prepared. Various tools can be used in order to host a webinar, from Skype and Google hangouts to WebEx and Adobe Connect.

Feeling inspired? Do you have any more ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments below!


Save the dates!

STEM Discovery Week 2018 is a joint international initiative of projects, organizations and schools across Europe and around the world, celebrating careers and studies in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The peak of the STEM Discovery Week 2018 activities will take place between April 23-29 but, with your help, we will make the entire April a STEM month!
The tagline for this year’s campaign “say yes to STEM” describes the partners’ open-minded and dedicated support to STEM subjects at school, as well as wide-ranging collaboration among stakeholders in the area.

Interested to participate?

Soon, you will be able to become a STEM Discovery Week 2018 partner. Partners will be able to:
– Organise and share information about events and activities in STEM education as part of the STEM Discovery Week campaign.
– Encourage third parties to support and join the initiative by organizing STEM activities of their own and share information about them as part of the STEM Discovery Week campaign.
– Publish on their web page common information about the STEM Discovery Week campaign, hence facilitating an active exchange of information among projects, organizations and schools.

Those who organize STEM activities will be able to submit and view their activities on our dedicated map and enter the STEM Discovery Week competition. In this competition, different projects will award the best activities based on certain criteria.

More information is coming soon so stay tuned!