Experiments and STEM activities are a great way to engage your students and pique their interest in science! There are so many great projects out there to try. If you love doing themed activities as much as I do, then you’ll love these fun (and easy!) STEM activities for winter!
STEM Activities for Winter
Hot Cocoa Melting
For this winter STEM activity, you will need two mugs, water, milk, two packs of hot cocoa mix, marshmallows, and a spoon.
Fill one mug with milk and the other with water. Make sure you use the same amount of liquid for both mugs (I used 1 cup). Microwave each mug until hot, for the same amount of time (I did 90 seconds). If desired, test the temperature of each mug once heated. You will find that the same amount of water microwaved for the same amount of time is about 40 degrees hotter than the milk. Mix one packet of hot cocoa mix in each mug.
Your students may observe that the hot cocoa mix dissolved faster in the water than in the milk. In my pictures, water is on the left and milk is on the right.
Add in the marshmallows. Add the same amount of marshmallows to each cup (it is important that the only variable that is different is the type of liquid used). You can stir the marshmallows, if desired, or just let them sit at the top. (I stirred mine).
Observe which liquid dissolved the marshmallows faster. In this particular situation, the water, being hotter, should work faster. However, the great thing about this experiment is that there are so many variables involved, so you can do it many different ways! Try using different temperatures, different amounts of water, or different numbers of marshmallows instead.
Another one of my favorite STEM activities for winter demonstrates how salt can affect the freezing point of water. Observe the effect with this STEM activity! For this project, you will need a container of cold water with about 6 ice cubes, a string, and salt.
Fill your container with cold water and add in 6 ice cubes. Give each student a piece of string (around 12 inches long). Have them dip their string in the container and try to “catch” an ice cube.
Now, repeat the experiment, first laying the string over the ice cubes. Then, sprinkle a thin layer of salt on top of the string. Wait about 30 seconds, then pick up the string. Did you catch anything this time?
When doing this experiment, make sure to let the salt sit long enough before removing the string, but not too long. If you use too much or too little salt, the experiment may not work well. If something goes wrong, don’t panic! Try again and talk about why it may have worked one time and not the other.
Another one of my favorite STEM activities for winter is building a snowball launcher. For this, you will need a small cup, a balloon, scissors, hot glue or duct tape, and a styrofoam ball (or crumpled up paper).
Cut the bottom out of the cup. For safety purposes, you may wish to complete this step ahead of time so your students don’t have to.
Tie the end of the balloon and cut the top off. Stretch the open end of the balloon over the narrower end of the cup. Secure with hot glue or duct tape.
Place the styrofoam ball in the cup. To launch, pull back on the balloon and release. For added fun, make it a challenge! See which student can launch their “snowball” the farthest. Have students experiment with the amount of force they apply to the balloon and make connections.
I hope these activities are helpful to you! If you are interested in more STEM activities for winter, click here to view more. Some of these Christmas science experiments will also work well for the winter months!