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Edu News | January 26, 2022

24 stem lessons you can quickly deploy in the classroom.

Collage of images representing lessons in the Quick and Easy collection.

Calling all teachers pressed for time, substitutes looking for classroom activities that don't require a lot of prep, and others hoping to keep students learning in especially chaotic times: We've got a new collection of lessons and activities that you can quickly deploy.

Read on to explore our collection of Quick and Easy STEM lessons and student activities , organized by grade band. Get everything you need to guide students through standards-aligned lessons featuring connections to real NASA missions and science as well as links to student projects, which can be led by teachers or assigned as independent activities.

Grades 9-12

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high school stem projects

Make a Paper Mars Helicopter

In this lesson, students build a paper helicopter, then improve the design and compare and measure performance.

Subject Engineering

Time 30-60 mins

Student Project: Make a Paper Mars Helicopter

Build a paper helicopter, then see if you can improve the design like NASA engineers did when making the first helicopter for Mars.

What Tools Would You Take to Mars?

Students decide what they want to learn from a robotic mission to Mars and what tools they will put on their robot to accomplish their goals.

Subject Science

high school stem projects

Rockets by Size

Students cut out, color and sequence paper rockets in a simple mathematics lesson on measurement.

Subject Math

high school stem projects

Rocket Math

Students use rocket manipulatives to help them develop number sense, counting, addition and subtraction skills.

high school stem projects

Tangram Rocket

Students use tangrams to create rockets while practicing shape recognition.

Time 1-2 hrs

high school stem projects

Student Project: Build a Rover and More With Shapes

Use geometric shapes called tangrams to build a rover and other space-themed designs!

Time Less than 30 mins

high school stem projects

Student Project: Build a Rocket and More With Shapes

Use geometric shapes called tangrams to build a rocket and other space-themed designs!

high school stem projects

Mineral Mystery Experiment

Students explore the science behind an intriguing planetary feature by creating saline solutions and then observing what happens when the solutions evaporate.

Grades 2-12

Time 2 sessions of 30-60 mins

high school stem projects

Student Project: Do a Mineral Mystery Experiment

Dissolve salts in water, then observe what happens when the water evaporates.

What Do You Know About Mars?

Students decide what they want to learn from a robotic mission to Mars.

high school stem projects

Melting Ice Experiment

Students make predictions and observations about how ice will melt in different conditions then compare their predictions to results as they make connections to melting glaciers.

high school stem projects

Parachute Design

Students design and test parachute landing systems to successfully land a probe on target.

high school stem projects

Planetary Poetry

In this cross-curricular STEM and language arts lesson, students learn about planets, stars and space missions and write STEM-inspired poetry to share their knowledge of or inspiration about these topics.

high school stem projects

Student Project: Write a Poem About Space

Are you a space poet, and you didn't even know it? Find out how to create your own poems inspired by space!

high school stem projects

Ocean World: Earth Globe Toss Game

Students use NASA images and a hands-on activity to compare the amounts of land and surface water on our planet.

Simple Rocket Science Continued

Students gather data on a balloon rocket launch, then create a simple graph to show the results of the tests.

high school stem projects

Spaghetti Anyone? Building with Pasta

Students use the engineering design process to build a structure to handle the greatest load and gain first-hand experience with compression and tension forces.

high school stem projects

Student Project: Building With Spaghetti

Use spaghetti to build a tower modeled after the giant structures NASA uses to talk to spacecraft.

Simple Rocket Science

Students perform a simple science experiment to learn how a rocket works and demonstrate Newton’s third law of motion.

Soda-Straw Rockets

Students study rocket stability as they design, construct and launch paper rockets using soda straws.

high school stem projects

Student Project: Make a Straw Rocket

Create a paper rocket that can be launched from a soda straw – then, modify the design to make the rocket fly farther!

high school stem projects

Rocket Activity: Heavy Lifting

Students construct balloon-powered rockets to launch the greatest payload possible to the classroom ceiling.

high school stem projects

Design a Robotic Insect

Students design a robotic insect for an extraterrestrial environment, then compare the process to how NASA engineers design robots for extreme environments like Mars.

high school stem projects

Student Project: Design a Robotic Insect

Design a robotic insect to go to an extreme environment. Then, compare the design process to what NASA engineers do when building robots for Mars!

high school stem projects

How Far Away Is Space?

Students use measurement skills to determine the scale distance to space on a map.

high school stem projects

Student Project: How Far Away Is Space?

Stack coins and use your measurement skills to figure out the scale distance from Earth's surface to space.

high school stem projects

Planetary Travel Time

Students will compute the approximate travel time to planets in the solar system using different modes of transportation.

high school stem projects

The Ring Wing Glider

In this simple engineering design lesson, students turn a piece of paper into an aircraft wing and then try to improve upon their design.

Student Project: Make a Paper Glider

Turn a piece of paper into a glider inspired by a NASA design.

high school stem projects

How Do We See Dark Matter?

Students will make observations of two containers and identify differences in content, justify their claims and make comparisons to dark matter observations.

Grades 6-12

Let's Go to Mars! Calculating Launch Windows

Students use advanced algebra concepts to determine the next opportunity to launch a spacecraft to Mars.

Find our full collection of more than 250 STEM educator guides and student activities in Teach and Learn .

For games, articles, and more activities from NASA for kids in upper-elementary grades, visit NASA Space Place and NASA Climate Kids .

Explore more educational resources and opportunities for students and educators from NASA STEM Engagement .

TAGS: Lessons , Teachers , Educators , Parents , Substitutes , Activities , Students , Science , Engineering , Quick and Easy

high school stem projects

Kim Orr , Web Producer, NASA-JPL Education Office

Kim Orr is a web and content producer for the Education Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her pastimes are laughing and going on Indiana Jones style adventures.

Brought to you by CU Engineering (University of Colorado Boulder)

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