Cool STEM Websites for Middle Schoolers

  • The Big Brain Theory – Discovery Channel: Competitors on this TV show have just 30 minutes to come up with a solution to an (seemingly) impossible engineering challenge.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Bill’s entertaining television episodes cover everything from comets to the science of music. Have some fun with his home demos.
  • Chi Alpha Mu: Otherwise known as the National Junior Mathematics Club, Chi Alpha Mu is the younger sibling of Mu Alpha Theta. Check out its list of contests and summer grants.
  • Environmental Health Student Portal: Interested in learning more about chemicals, air quality and water pollution? This website has videos, games and experiments to help you along.
  • Kids Ahead: A STEM bonanza. Kids Ahead is packed with all kinds of resources, including scavenger hunts, videos, articles, links to local activities and fun events and info on cool jobs, that inspire and excite.
  • MathMovesU: Hone your math skills with online games, virtual thrill rides and national competitions! MathMovesU also offers a variety of scholarships and sponsorships.
  • MythBusters – Discovery Channel: The folks at MythBusters use experiments to bust rumors, myths and urban legends. (During their Cannonball Chemistry experiment, they accidentally drove a cannonball through the side of a house.)
  • Sally Ride Science: Founded by America’s first female astronaut, Sally Ride Science hosts a number of student programs, including science festivals and overnight camps.
  • Science Bob: Bob is a science teacher who loves to experiment (often on Jimmy Kimmel). His website has videos, links and plenty of ideas for build-your-own experiments and science fair projects.
  • SciJinks: It’s all about the weather. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and NASA put together this educational website to teach kids about meteorology and earth science. Check out their games section.
  • Scratch: Designed for kids age 8 to 16, Scratch is a place where you can program your own interactive stories, games and animations. A project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.
  • TechRocket: A great learning tool for kids interested in programming, graphic design, and more! Use the promo code “MIDSFREE” to get a free first month!

STEM Games and Apps

  • Auditorium: The Online Experience: Auditorium is a beautiful and challenging puzzle with many different solutions. One game reviewer called it “part puzzle game, part light sculpture, part musical instrument.”
  • CSI: Web Adventures: Based on the T.V. series, this immersive adventure allows you to solve your own forensics case. Levels range from beginner to advanced.
  • DimensionU Games: DimensionU has developed lots of games that tackle STEM skills. Use math to reveal the mysteries of Xeno Island or join forces in a race to disengage a bio-digital virus.
  • Gamestar Mechanic: Learn to design your own video game! Explore game-based quests and take courses to build your skills.
  • Machinarium: An incredibly slick point-and-click adventure game. You’re a robot who’s been tossed on a scrap heap and must solve a series of puzzles to make it back to the city, save the girl and beat the bad guys.
  • Mathemagics Mental Math Tricks: Amaze friends and parents with these quick (but impressive) mathematics tricks.
  • Minecraft: Minecraft is a popular 3-D block-building game that pushes your imagination to the limits. Protect yourself against nocturnal monsters or a build a giant one-of-a-kind creation.
  • National Geographic Games: Journey deep into the nano-world. Build the greenest city in the universe. Prepare for the apocalypse. Some of these games are free; some must be purchased.
  • Portal 2: A mind-bending action adventure game built around physics principles and environmental puzzles. Navigate portals and battle against a power-crazed artificial intelligence named GLaDOS. Suitable for teens.
  • Quantum Conundrum: Your uncle has disappeared. He’s left his Interdimensional Shift Device behind. And his house just got very weird. Welcome to the physics-based puzzle game known as Quantum Conundrum.
  • Robots for iPad App: Everything you want to know about robots in one easy app. Robots for iPad has 360-degree views, lots of articles and specs and hundreds of photos and videos.
  • You Can Do the Rubik’s Cube: You knew there had to be a game completely devoted to it. Unlock the secrets of the world-famous Rubik’s Cube.

STEM Camps

  • Ambition Program: Boldly go where no kid has gone before. Immerse yourself in a six-day aviation-themed learning adventure at the National Flight Academy in Florida.
  • Audubon Nature Camps: Audobon hosts a huge number of Nature Camps throughout the country. Beginning in April, they start taking applications for Wild Birds Unlimited Scholarships.
  • Camp Euclid: A Mathematics Research Camp: Participate from virtually anywhere! Camp Euclid’s six-week summer camps are held online. Collaborate with fellow students on solution-defying math problems.
  • Camp KAOS: Discover the thrill of space. These exciting flight and space adventure-themed camps take place at the Smithsonian-affiliated Kansas Cosmophere and Space Center (KAOS) in Hutchinson, Kansas.
  • Digital Media Summer Camp for Teens: Digital Media’s award-winning summer camps are for teens age 12 to 17. Learn about game design and development, programming and apps, filmmaking and visual effects or 3-D modeling and animation.
  • Earth Camp: Explore the wonders of Arizona’s Sonora Desert. You’ll camp in the wilderness, scan the night sky at the University of Arizona Sky Center and become an expert in sustainability and water resource issues.
  • Engineering Summer Camps: Fancy some problem-solving this summer? The Engineering Education Service Center has put together a state-by-state list of engineering summer camps.
  • The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC): Live (and play) on a real college campus. Designed to support underrepresented middle school kids, these popular summer science camps are located across the country.
  • iD Tech Camps: Make your own video game. Program your own app. Code in Java. At iD Tech’s day and overnight camps, practically anything is possible.
  • Northern Illinois University STEM Camps: Northern Illinois University holds STEM summer camps that allow middle school kids to engage in interdisciplinary activities. Students learn through classes, hands-on activities, and more!
  • Physics Wonder Girls at Indiana Wesleyan University: Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Physics Wonder Girls camp offers middle school girls the opportunity to take part in hands-on physics experiments, projects, physics-based games, and science tours.
  • STEM Summer Institute at MIT: During the summer, STEM offers a five-week math and science institute at MIT for students entering grades six through nine. Field trips and racquet sports included.
  • Youth Digital Summer Camps: Design 3-D models for Minecraft, create your own video game or even direct a 3-D animation! These camps focused on digital technology are held in various southern cities. For kids age 8 to 16.
  • Youth Empowered Action (YEA): YEA is a week-long overnight camp for youth age 12 to 17 who want to change the world. Workshops include “Planetary Problem Puzzles” and “A Million Ways to Make a Difference.”
  • Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program: Launch yourself into computer programming, robotics and space engineering. MIT’s five-week STEM curriculum will immerse you in space and provide you with hands-on experience programming SPHERES (Synchronized, Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites).

STEM Career Resources

  • Career Aisle: Middle School: Wondering what the future might hold? Explore some of the options available to you in science, technology, engineering and math. Lots of videos.
  • Kids.gov Jobs: Get the skinny on every job under the sun. Wondering what marine biologists do? Want to watch a video on becoming a veterinarian? You’re in the right place.
  • iON Future: If website browsing isn’t your style, you can always play this free STEM career exploration game. It’s geared toward middle school and early high school students.
  • NASA Look to the Future: Careers in Space: You don’t have to be an astronaut to work in the space program. NASA has a list of other professions, including robotics engineer, computer scientist and oceanographer, for you to consider.

Cool STEM Websites

  • Ask Dr. Universe: Washington State University’s Ask Dr. Universe allows kids to explore various STEM topics and get answers to common questions. Have a question not covered on the site? Submit it on their “Ask” page!
  • Code.org: No one is too young (or old, I might add) to code. Learn how to build an iPhone game, write your first computer program, draw in JavaScript and much more.
  • Engineering, Go for It! (eGFI): Discover the nuts and bolts of engineering. This website contains advice on careers, entertaining info on all kinds of fields and links to the eGFI magazine.
  • EPA Students: Searching for news on the environment, homework resources, info on contests or ideas for an environment-based school project? Check out this website run by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Exploratorium: One of my favorites. The website of the San Francisco-based Exploratorium is jam-packed with interactive activities, videos, apps, links and more.
  • Extreme Science: Extremely interesting. Here you’ll find wild and weird facts about nature, resources for science projects and info on all kinds of world records.
  • How Stuff Works: I visit this website every day. It has hundreds upon thousands of articles that explain the wonders of science (and almost everything else on the planet).
  • Museum of Science + Industry Chicago Online Science: Apps and activities and videos, oh my! Play games, watch baby chicks hatching, create virtual chemical reactions or use forensic science to analyze different types of candy.
  • NASA Education for Students: Career information, image galleries, NASA Television, features and articles … whatever you’d like to know about aerospace, you’re sure to find it here.
  • NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA): SEMAA was developed to increase the participation of historically underserved K-12 youth in STEM fields. School activities and summer sessions are held throughout the nation.
  • NOVA: The website for PBS’s popular science show is overflowing with videos and articles. Explore the wonders of evolution, nature, physics, math—practically any STEM subject that rings your bell.
  • Science Buddies: Get stuck on science. This website has over 1,000 ideas for science fair projects, project guides, project kits and detailed profiles of STEM careers.
  • Science Channel: Question everything. Along with a rundown on the Science Channel’s TV programs, this website has plenty of videos, quizzes, games and the latest science news.
  • STEM-Works: In addition to articles and job information, STEM-Works has stocked their site with interesting activities. Test your skills in the reptile quiz. Rescue an athlete in the Bionic Games. Or, simply follow the path of great whites with the Global Shark Tracker.
  • TechRocket: A year-round online learning destination for kids and teens. Use the promo code “MIDSFREE” to get a free first month!
  • Tynker: A computing platform that allows children to develop programming skills through fun, creative courses. Join the millions of kids from around the country learning to code with Tynker!