When I think of STEM – especially the science and engineering arms of the equation – I too often think of the higher end, more complicated stuff. The cool, hands-on science experiments involving fire and acidic liquids. Building and programming robots. Unfortunately, this thought process often yields activities that are either too complicated or not age-appropriate for younger students.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t cool stuff out there for younger kids studying STEM subjects. Many apps that address STEM material are specifically geared towards younger learners, making them perfect to expose kids to STEM without being too complicated or overwhelming. We’ve selected eight of our favorites (two apps for each aspect of STEM) to share with you here. If you have a favorite STEM app that we haven’t included here, tell us about it by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.
Bobo Explores Light: $3.99. This app explores many different science concepts that children would find interesting to help them understand that science is cool and fun (like lasers!). There are not only descriptions but photos, videos, and interactive tools as well!
The Magic School Bus Oceans: $7.99. Everyone knows Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus! This one is a little on the expensive side for an app, but given the well-known character and the wealth of information about oceans that it offers, we give it a thumbs up anyway. This comic book style app offers text, videos, photos, and games to help younger learners get excited to learn about the earth’s oceans.
Kodoble: Free, but offers in-app purchases. Kodoble is a game for kids that introduces basic programming concepts in a fun way. There are 45 free levels to play, but they also offer classroom accounts for teachers who want to use the game in the classroom. Definitely worth checking out.
Scratch Maze: $0.99. Design your own maze in Scratch (a popular programming environment, for those of you who aren’t programming-literate yet) using this simple interface and fun concept. It is worth noting that you’ll need to download Scratch to your desktop computer in order to create your game, but since Scratch is an easy, visual approach to programming, it is great for kids and new programmers alike.
Go Car Go: $0.99. Go Car Go is a physics based game for younger learners that allows users to build a car and test it in a variety of environments. Physics concepts are applied and will effect your car’s ability to move along the course. A great practical approach to physics.
Blocks!: $0.99. This app allows you to virtually build things with Lego-looking bricks and move them through space via your device. You can even control your objects using FCP and your front camera (read more about it in the app description by using the link). A great way to approach building and physics in a virtual environment.
Math Blaster Hyper Blast: $1.99. This is an arcade style math teaching game that uses addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to teach and reinforce math skills in a fun way. There are 30 levels to play and the interface is easy to navigate, even for younger users.
Numbers League: $3.99. Numbers League is a game in which kids use basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) to assemble superheroes to capture villains with their powers. It is fun, easy to use, supports up to four players on one device, and has a wide enough range of difficulty to challenge learners at different levels.