STEM Council Teachable Moment

Welcome to Teachable Moment, a carefully curated, small collection of lessons and activities curated by your STEM Network Team to help use the precious time of learners and caregivers during the suspension of schooling through coronavirus mitigation and beyond. Click on the links or images below for STEM activities and lessons. Send any feedback including how else our STEM team can help as well as tips and leads to additional resources to

The STEM Council is collaborating with the following agencies and organizations to provide access to educational enrichment options for students, parents and educators during the temporary disruption of classroom learning due to COVID-19:

Many of the resources have been added to respond to the need caused by COVID-19 and, aside from the STEM Scale-Up Programs, have not been through a full approval or review process. The STEM Council may remove a resource that has not been through a full approval or review process at any time.

Looking for unplugged vs. online options? Look for the green stars on our page to indicate unplugged activities or lessons.

IOWA STEM Teacher Award Experiments

The following video(s) are provided for educational purposes only. There may be risk involved with replicating the experiment or activity. Individuals replicating the experiment or activity do so at their own risk. Attention needs to be given to all parts of the video and all steps in the video need to be followed. Children should be supervised by a responsible adult if replicating the experiment or activity.

Engineering a Good Tasting Pancake


Surface Tension Experiment

STEM Scale-Up Programs

Many of the STEM Scale-Up Program providers have shared access to resources for parents and students at home. This list will continue to be updated as new opportunities are available.

  • Bootstrap: Data Science - Bootstrap provides online materials with engaging introductions to computer programming and integrates with math concepts in prealgebra, algebra, and data science, suitable for 7th-12th grade with no prior coding experience and compatible with PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks.
  • Carolina STEM Curriculum - Carolina is committed to supporting educators, especially under these unique circumstances. Carolina has put together weekly lesson plans with free resources (and no obligations) for K-5 science – life, earth, and physical. Research Modules have been made available for 6th-8th grade science and a site for high school educators is in development. A few of those lesson plans are highlighted below: 
  • Computer Science - provides a variety of resources for students and families to learn about computer science. Activities are available for all ages and for students without computer or internet access. Accounts, resources, and activities are all free. 
  • Desmos - Desmos has compiled activities, webinars, new features, and community especially designed for this time of school closure for 6th through 8th grade. Dilation Mini Golf is one of many activities available and allows students to explore what happens when they dilate a single point from a center through playing rounds of mini golf! They move from informal to formal ways of determining the relationships between the center, the pre-image, the image, and the scale factor.
  • Hand2Mind - hand2mind is excited to introduce teach@home: Daily Lessons & Activities for K-5th grade students, a series of free daily lessons and activities created and delivered by teachers. Each week you will find an easy-to-follow schedule, by grade, for K-5th grade students and daily grade-specific video lessons, like this STEM bin video. You will also find worksheets for the Math and Literacy lessons as well as a daily STEM activity, including this decimals and fractions mathematics activity for Grade 5.
  • ST Math - No-cost access to ST Math, for grades K-8th grade through June 30, 2020. Parents can sign their students up for free. Schools and school districts can also be set up with free access to the ST Math curriculum and platform, so students can keep the learning happening at home. 


BrainPOP is offering free access to any school that has shut down due to COVID-19. Schools can keep students on track by taking advantage of BrainPOP’s animated movies, assessment resources and creative tools. Access will remain free to any school for the duration of closure for K-12 grade learners. Check out the Think Like A Scientist activity for grades 9-12.


DiscoverE has several engineering activities to download for students of all ages. The Foil Boats challenge has participants design and build a boat from aluminum foil that holds as many pennies as possible before it sinks or capsizes, learning about buoyancy, density, and displacement.

Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, one of America's premiere science museums, produced fantastic (and brief!) videos depict a variety of science phenomena in an entertaining fashion geared for learners ages 5 to 50 and beyond. For example, how does ultrasound work?

Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education

The Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education is pleased to offer games for educators to download, print, cut out and play appropriate for children ages 3-8. Many of them are discussed in greater depth in "Young Children Reinvent Arithmetic: Implications of Piaget's Theory," a book by Constance Kamii with Leslie Baker Housman. Cooking with children encourages them to look at properties of ingredients and how those properties changes when they are mixed and when heat or cooling is applied. The Closest to 10 game asks students to construct numbers and then compare them to 10.

Iowa State Engineering Fun

Iowa State Engineering Community Outreach is rolling out some easy to do activities designed specifically for kids and families. There is a daily theme with something to do hands-on with things around the house, a deeper dive into the STEM concept, a program or movie to watch together and a little bedtime boredom buster. The Programming Cartoons activity will have 2-8 grade students working through programming, sequencing, software engineering and more!

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach - 4-H At Home Learning Resources

The Iowa 4-H product team has compiled a list of publicly available resources for at home learning. The youth-led learning resources offer weekly challenges, interactive online experiences, and much more. The Chick It Out Challenge explores the stages of a chicken's life cycle.

Lego Challenge: 30 Days of Play Calendar

That Brick Life has put together a 30 days of LEGO play calendar. Challenge your kids to use their imagination and to create something new everyday.

NASA At Home

Let NASA bring the universe into your home with e-books, activities, games and more. You can even build your own Apollo moon capsule craft or land a spacecraft on target!

National Inventors Hall of Fame

National Inventors Hall of Fame provides activities and lessons that will turn any room into classroom. Take this quiz to find out what kind of inventor you are, then do an activity for each style of inventor (linking to a real inventor and invention.

PAST Foundation

The PAST Foundation, an organization of museum educators, offers an array of at-home STEM activities. After a simple registration form a wealth of simple hands-on design/construct/build activities suitable for elementary and middle school-aged learners are available. Including a highly relevant "Germs and Soap" activity at the kitchen table.


Popfizz provides hundreds of exercises, assignments, and labs to help boost computer science class. Explore the world of coding. Try out the mini courses for free. In just a few hours, you'll create awesome projects. Learn Geometry and Python with Turtle Graphics, available in English and Spanish.

Raytheon Technologies - Stay at Home with STEM

Get advice directly from today’s innovators at Raytheon Technologies. They have compiled fun activities for junior high and high school students, including marking crystal formations, forming honeybee hotels and more!

Science Center of Iowa - At Home

Experience of the Science Center of Iowa at home with fun resources for learners of all ages. Make everything from slime to bubbles with these fun kitchen chemistry experiments. Also, check out the Science in 60(ish) Seconds series, including quick experiments and cool science!

STEM Literacy Blog

Visit the STEM Literacy Blog, from the STEM Council South Central Region, for STEM book recommendations from librarians and readers. Many of the books are connected to STEM activities, for example the windmill activity inspired by The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Tech for Learners

US Education technology companies responded to a government request to post free and discounted games, activities, software, and other learning options for students from preK through higher education. Tech for Learners is searchable by age, subject area, and delivery mode (synchronous or asynchronous). For example, a search of *free*, *grades 6-8*,  *supplemental*, *science*, *asynchronous* netted 42 options, including a most appropriate online "game" called Immune Defense in which the player combats microbes with battling white blood cells:

STEM Council Pinterest Page

Explore our Pinterest boards for fun, at-home STEM activities for students of all ages and parents as well! Click on some of our favorite pins below:

  • Dancing Rice Experiment: Make rice dance like magic in this super simple kitchen science experiment.

  • Marble Run: Build a marble run with an unlikely material… play dough!

  • Hot Ice: Combine baking soda and vinegar to make sodium acetate, or hot ice!

  • Egg Experiements: Use one egg and a few simple kitchen items for some seriously egg-citing results!

  • Can You Make It? Math Game: An easy game for students of different abilities.

  • Screen Free Coding: Teach kids to code with a deck of cards.


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