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3 Best Middle School STEM Projects and Activities

August 15th, 2023 | 7 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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As a middle school teacher of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), finding the best projects and activities for your students can be difficult. You want to provide assignments that are interesting and compelling but also ones that are age-appropriate for younger students.

Thankfully, plenty of STEM curriculum resources are available that meet middle school students where they are and challenge them to learn more.

In this article, you'll find three of the best STEM projects for middle school:

  1. STEM Challenges and Engineering Design Process for Middle School
  2. STEM Activities and Challenges from Science Demo Guy
  3. Teach Math and More

After reading, you should have a more complete idea of the middle school STEM projects available to choose what suits your classroom best.

1. STEM Challenges and Engineering Design Process for Middle School

STEM in the Middle is a reputable seller on the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace. She specializes in general science, physical science, and engineering projects for STEM classrooms.

Her STEM Challenges and Engineering Design Process for Middle School bundle features a wide range of interactive STEM projects and activities designed to get students excited about the objectives and careers of science and engineering.

The full bundle includes these STEM activities:

  • Wind-Powered Car Design Activity
  • Civil Engineering Tower Project
  • Newton's Laws Activity
  • DIY Fidget Spinner Challenge
  • Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions
  • Thanksgiving Solar Oven STEM Challenge
  • Thanksgiving Table STEM Challenge
  • Christmas STEM Challenge
  • Winter Snowflake Design Challenge
  • Thermal Energy Insulated Cup Challenge
  • Halloween Candy Bucket Activity
  • Fall Corn Maze Challenge
  • Spring Pollinator Bee House Challenge
  • Valentine's Day Paper Circuits Activity
  • Plant Science Activity
  • Easter Egg Drop Challenge
  • Animal Prosthetic Device Challenge
  • Bottle Rocket Challenge
  • Summer Water Balloon Catapult Project

Student audience and material requirements vary from project to project, but all are designed for students between grades 5 and 9. Each resource comes complete with project instructions, worksheets, slideshows, grading rubrics, and other materials to ensure a successful activity.

Some of these projects, such as the Egg Drop Challenge, are STEM curriculum classics. Others tie in closely with the change of seasons, such as the winter thermal energy exercise and the summer water balloon catapult. Regardless of the time of year, this bundle includes plenty of activities to keep your students engaged.

How Much Do These Projects Cost, and Who Are They For?

In total, this bundle includes nearly 20 activities and is available on the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace for about $52. While not the least expensive bundle on TPT, this is a great value if you plan to use multiple activities throughout the school year.

This bundle is most helpful for teachers to introduce students to the core principles of engineering and the design process. Most of the activities are centered on physical science and engineering, so teachers covering subjects like mathematics more closely may need to look for additional projects for their classrooms.

2. STEM Activities and Challenges from Science Demo Guy

Science Demo Guy is another Teachers Pay Teachers seller with a reputation for making high-quality classroom resources.

His STEM Activities and Challenges bundle includes 36 activities themed around the nine months of the traditional academic year. Each month features four different projects to help students explore various concepts related to STEM fields.

The resources are appropriate for students in grades 6-8 and include:

  • Air Jack Rescue
  • Floating Bubbles and Floating Eggs
  • Index Card Bridge, Popsicle Bridge, and Straw Bridge
  • Lava Lamps
  • Marshmallow Shooter and Marshmallow Catapult
  • Rubber Band Rockets
  • Ski Jump
  • Aluminum Foil Boat
  • Balloon Powered Car, Balloon Rocket Races, and Pop Can Races
  • Cartesian Driver
  • CD Hovercraft
  • Experimenting with Oobleck
  • Film Canister Rocket
  • Hoop Glider Competition
  • Hot Air Balloons and Self-Inflating Balloons
  • Levitating Spider and Levitating Ping Pong Ball
  • Making a Parachute
  • Marble Noodle Roller Coaster and Marble Run
  • Musical Straws
  • Popcorn Huff and Puff
  • Reaction Time Activity
  • Spaghetti Tower, Index Card Tower, and Gumdrop Tower
  • Swinging Pendulum
  • Drops on a Penny

Each interactive project is great for motivating students in the classroom and comes complete with editable files, teacher instructions, student worksheets, rubrics, and correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Teachers will also find video demos of the activity and questions they can offer students after completing each exercise. There are enough resources to provide one for each class week in the school year or to pick and choose the activities that best fit your students.

How Much Do These Projects Cost, and Who Are They For?

Priced at $49, the Science Demo Guy bundle is an excellent value for teachers looking to use STEM projects in their middle school classrooms regularly.

The exercises are age-appropriate and challenge learners to be creative as they work independently and in groups to complete assignments. If you teach in a science classroom, these projects could help you meet academic standards for your subject area.

However, one of the biggest downsides to projects of this nature is they rely on large quantities of additional materials. To complete every activity in the bundle, you'll need access to everything from gumdrops to pool noodles. This can cost you or your students a lot of money, not to mention classroom space for storing project materials.

Nevertheless, many teachers may find that using engaging projects such as these is worth the extra time and expense to put together.

3. Teach Math and More

Teaching Math and More is a website where teachers can find instructional resources covering critical mathematics-related content. Among the projects offered on the site is a bundle of STEM activities for middle school.

Unlike other STEM project bundles, Teaching Math and More activities are designed for a middle school math classroom. This makes these projects a better fit for teachers looking to meet standards in math courses rather than science or technology.

The Teaching Math and More bundle includes four main projects designed around seasonal holidays:

  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas/Holiday
  • Valentine's Day

Four STEM challenges are included for each holiday, which should be enough to keep students busy throughout the season. 

All activities include printable worksheets, directions, and examples. Teachers also gain access to objectives, guidelines, and planning materials they can use to set up each activity.

How Much Do These Projects Cost, and Who Are They For?

This activity bundle is priced at $24 for a total of 16 activities.

One of the advantages of this particular bundle is that all of these projects are “low prep STEM activities,” which means that you won't have to spend as much time or money setting up each exercise as you might with more involved, multi-day projects. Since they are designed around math concepts, they'll fit best in a traditional middle school math classroom.

On the other hand, most of these activities are oriented around major fall and winter holidays, so you might need to find more seasonally-appropriate STEM resources outside of the months of October to February.

Altogether, this is an effective resource for teachers looking for middle school STEM projects that emphasize math as opposed to strictly science or engineering.

Engage Your Students with a Balanced Middle School STEM Curriculum

Discovering the ideal STEM projects for middle school students can be difficult. Between choosing appropriate materials for young students and finding activities that pique their interests, you might feel frustrated if you don't see the right fit.

But when you use any of the middle school STEM projects mentioned in this article, you'll be on your way to inspiring students with exciting activities that prepare them for later career success.

However, projects alone aren't enough to ensure your students master crucial concepts. To provide your students with a well-rounded education, consider a comprehensive STEM curriculum like iCEV.

iCEV provides teachers everything they need to teach STEM in middle school, including pre-made lesson plans, multimedia presentations, and interactive projects and activities.

To learn more about iCEV, visit the STEM curriculum page. You'll discover more about the iCEV curriculum resources to decide if they'll suit your students:

Discover STEM Curriculum