STEM Eduction for Homeschooler

Does homeschooling himself. Doesn’t have a specific curriculum. Emphasis on demonstration that they can apply science & math in real life. Experiment guides are up on his web site. Free.

Experiment Guides include:

  • Ingredients
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Standards compliance
  • Goals
  • Videos


  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math
    Some change STEM => STEAM & include Art.

How do you get kids excited about doing these things?

Try to integrate STEM earlier on in using a hands-on approach. Lots of experiments as a group with mixed ages. [Montessori again.] Older ones help teach the young ones.

What order should you teach science in?

Spiral approach. Don’t focus on a specific topic until high school. Until that point, keep teaching them as an integrated subject and they’ll do the learning. The experiment archive on his site breaks down the various experiments by topical group.

By doing, you learn it.

Affordable Science for the k-5th Homeschooler

Spiral approach. Adding together integrated concepts. Goal is that students gain a strong understanding of the scientific method. Think like a scientist. [Web site has a PDF with full details.]

[One challenge for us is we have on child who’s ready and wanting to immerse in a specific science, whereas the other is totally not ready for that. Will have to think through how to overcome that.]

Handheld Tesla Coil

Turns electricity from 110V to 50k volts. Science is not boring. You are an example. You have to make it fun. You have to get excited about it. 4th graders should know the definitions of conductors and insulators. Demo shows Tesla coil arching about 6 inches to her hand. Zap! “You might glow for a week or two.”

4th Grader should know difference between open and closed circuits. Going to turn extra people into wires. Spark goes from Tesla going into person A. Person A holds hand with Person B. Person B touches top of light. Person C holds bottom of lightbulb. (CFL.) CFL lit up. Did same demo with Person A & Person B touching like ET (fingers extended.)

Experiment Goals:

  • Introduced concepts:
    ** Series/Parallel circuits
    ** Conductor/Insulator
    ** Open/Closed circuits
  • He know what he was going to happen
  • Let them experience the science.

Do things different ways. Let them drive and own the experiment.

Things will eventually click. Don’t worry until 7-8th grade. Early on kids are very variable. When teaching an experiment, hold them responsible for knowing different levels of concepts. Older kids should know all concepts whereas the younger one might only know open/closed.

Plunger Experiment

Look for things around the house to get kids excited about science. Something which is going to get their attention. Use these things as a teaching tool – whatever the kids are paying extra strong attention to. Integrate them into your lesson plan.

Teaching weather. High Pressure => Low Pressure. How can I get these to stay together? Without using tape? Glue? Let them figure it out. High pressure means sunshine. Low Pressure means rain. If you pull the stuck together plunger it’s hard to do because of the pressure differential inside. (Low inside, high outside.) What must we apply to get these apart? Force (Another example of concepts.) Two kids pull the stuck together plungers apart.

Joke: Next we have to climb up the wall with them.

Seriously though, why can’t we climb the wall with it?

Not enough friction [another concept] to hold your weight. OK, your smaller preschooler might be able to do it. 🙂

[He’s talking fast. Making jokes. Interweaving concepts continuously.]

Diaper Genie Bag

23′ foot bag typically. Same length as the human small intestine.

How many breaths of air will it take for him to blow it up?

Scientific Method:
* Hypotheses
* Data
* Conclude experiment

Let your kids try for at least a week. Let them try to figure it out on your own. Otherwise we’re just going to create a nation of whiners. It’s important to develop this skill in science class. Grabbed end of bag and pulled to the end show it was fully inflated. Measure length of fully inflated section.

Science: Scientific method. Critical Thinking Skills.
Technology: measure weight of teach breath.
Engineering: make structures or mathematical shapes from them. Art: elements of design of structure.
Math: Use this to teach fractions. Multiplication.

Notebook spring

Use plastic one with a dowel rod. Use this to teach energy concepts. Potential & Kinetic Energy. Made a word pun: Travel to Kentucky requires Kinetic energy. Link concepts to word puns to help kids remember. Used spring & dowel as a spring launcher.

Math: Measure how far it goes. Graph compression of spring.
Technology: Use different springs.
Science: Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Energy Transference. (4th grader). Younger, let them have fun launching it and making predictions. Don’t show them how to do it.

Ask questions like what happens if I use a shorter spring vs. a longer one?

Let them figure it out. Don’t show them

Racket ball

Dropper popper. Cut it in half and turn it inside out. Drop it and it flips to natural state and pops higher. Kids thinks more is better, but this teaches them that’s not necessarily the case. Try this with a ping-ping ball. He did and it hit a 20′ ceiling. [FUN!]

Teaches transferring of energy.

[Tons of kids really wanted to do this.]

While he did this, he had them reinforce other concepts at the same time, even if they’re not related. Example:

If I do not ______ to my environment, I will go _______.

Film Canister Rockets

Younger ones will focus on touching and filling. Let them see that something is going on. Fizzing and bubbling. Film Canister + Alka Selzer + Water => Closed lid and let sit. [OMG – totally have to do this. NOW!]

Concept: difference between chemical or physical change. Newton laws of motions.

[He’s constantly smiling and super happy.]

Let them guide the experiment with your help. How much water? What if we used Coke?

Don’t just rely on the worksheets. Do lots of the hand-on stuff. In his house, they don’t use a specific curriculum.

Did the experiment with less water. Rocket hit the ceiling even harder. More fuel and less mass.

Gutter Nail Balancing

How can I balance 20 nails on top of one? (Using what looks like 8″ hefty nails.)

Kid is creating a pattern of interlocking nails. (He did sand down the tips of the nails) One nail balanced horizontally with others 45 degree angled and interlocking and balance left-right.

Concepts: Center of gravity and balancing.

UV Rays – Solar Beans

Kids should know light travels in a straight line until it hits something. It can reflect, absorb, or refract.

Solar Beans change colors as sun hits them. Made from a UV sensitive material. You can use this to test your sun screen to see if it really work. If your beads stay white, it’s working. [Interesting…]

Item sources


How can you integrate science with the history of the revolutionary war history?
Look for historical period experiments. Projectiles. Chemical reactions.