‘STEM Activity’ Series: Four Activity Books That Make STEM Fun

STEM Activity Series, Image: Sophie Brown, Covers: Carlton
STEM Activity Series, Image: Sophie Brown, Covers: Carlton

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a key focus for schools and parents as the skills taught by these subjects are invaluable for all kids and adults. The STEM Activity series is a set of four interactive activity books aimed at kids aged six plus that introduces youngsters to key ideas in each of the four STEM subjects. Each book contains over 40 activities related to its field.

Sensational Science, Image: Carlton
Sensational Science, Image: Carlton

STEM Activity: Sensational Science

The first book in the STEM Activity series is Sensational Science and it is probably the most varied of the four books in terms of the subjects it covers. This book covers a diverse range of subjects from space to x-rays, medicine to chemical reactions, the water cycle to rocks and fossils.

Sensational Science Sample Page, Image: Carlton
Sensational Science Sample Page, Image: Carlton

Throughout this book, kids will match the names of scientific fields to their areas of research, complete electrical circuits, place galactic objects into their order of size, and discover which animal species are the most endangered.

Terrific Technology, Image: Carlton
Terrific Technology, Image: Carlton

STEM Activity: Terrific Technology

Next up is Terrific Technology. This book covers a wide array of technology from primitive tools through ceramics and textiles to modern day technological achievements like virtual reality and artificial intelligence. The different kinds of tech are each given an opportunity to shine, with pages devoted to farm tech, app development, medical tech, and other specific areas like water and flight technologies.

Terrific Technology Sample Page, Image: Carlton
Terrific Technology Sample Page, Image: Carlton

Throughout the book, kids will get to design their own Martian space station, figure out the difference between input and output peripherals on a computer, piece together the double helix structure of DNA, and join together a pulley system using ropes.

Extreme Engineering, Image: Carlton
Extreme Engineering, Image: Carlton

STEM Activity: Extreme Engineering

The third book in the series is Extreme Engineering, which covers everything from wheels and balloons to long-distance communications and parachutes. The book looks into gears and levers, buoyancy and flight before getting into modern engineering subjects like driverless cars and robotics.

Extreme Engineering Sample Page, Image: Carlton
Extreme Engineering Sample Page, Image: Carlton

In this book, kids will think about which gears are best when riding their bike on different gradients, learn to read Morse Code, label the different parts of a crane, and design their own environmentally friendly skyscraper.

Amazing Maths, Image: Carlton
Amazing Maths, Image: Carlton

STEM Activity: Amazing Maths

The final book in the series is Amazing Maths. (Yes, this is the only one without an alliterative title. Yes, it annoys me.) This book covers most basic principals of mathematics such as multiplication and division, percentages, decimals, fractions, and telling the time but also touches on other areas including Roman numerals, polygons, symmetry, ratios, and pi.

Amazing Maths Sample Page, Image: Carlton
Amazing Maths Sample Page, Image: Carlton

In this book, kids will have a go at programming a computer, calculate the size of a farmer’s fields, see how a loading bar relates to percentages, and crack a code to identify a criminal.

Verdict

My son and I really enjoyed working through the STEM Activity books and I was pleased to spot that three of the four were authored by women. Each book begins with an explanation of STEM which allows kids to check off the things they most enjoy doing and see which of the four areas they are most suited to. The books also end with a short quiz which tests kids on the different things they have learned about throughout the activities they have completed.

There’s a wide variety of different puzzles and activities included in each book so your kids won’t get bored of doing the same type of activity over and over again. As a parent, I liked that everything could be completed on the page with just a pen and some coloring pencils. This meant I could take it out and about with us and wouldn’t find myself faced with several pages of activities which required me to scrounge up a toilet roll and some aluminum foil while sitting in a restaurant.

Sample Pages Completed by My Son, Image: Sophie Brown
Sample Pages Completed by My Son, Image: Sophie Brown

My biggest criticism of the STEM Activity series is how many of the activities are only tangentially linked to their subject. The books are filled with join-the-dot puzzles, color-by-numbers pictures, spot the difference puzzles, and word searches. While the theme of these activities is always linked to the STEM subject, is spotting the difference between half a dozen pictures of cars or following lines to figure out which lawnmower ran out of gas *really* a STEM activity as the cover suggests?

GeekMom received these books for review purposes.

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