8th Grade STEM Activities | STEM Projects for 8th Graders

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The best 8th grade STEM activities that you should have for your students are the ones that would inspire them to learn something new about their world. It must be something different from the ones that they would usually experience in K-5 education.

These STEM activities can be more complicated and may require a higher level of understanding than what students already know. You can take on many different topics and some maybe even more advanced versions of activities they may have done in earlier years. 

Related post: Quick STEM Activities for 5th Grade Students

Help a Plant Solve a Maze

help a plant solve a maze stem activity

Some of the most rewarding STEM activities for middle students are all about biology. With this, your students might gain a better understanding of how things work and have a higher level of appreciation when it comes to living things.

For this experiment, each student needs a hearty plant and a shoebox. Have your students construct a simple maze that has a series of platforms with holes in them which the plant must go through in order to reach the sunlight. This way, they might find it fascinating to discover how plants grow and become more curious about the natural world. 

Build a Rube Goldberg Machine

If you’re looking for a STEM activity that has more to do with mechanical engineering, your students might have fun building a Rube Goldberg machine.

The goal of a Rube Goldberg machine is to create a large and overly complicated mechanical device that serves a simple purpose. Consider making a classroom-size apparatus that takes a full three minutes to do nothing but pour a can of soda. This is a great way to introduce students to critical thinking, engineering, and mechanical design.

Create Your Own Shampoo

create your own shampoo STEM activity

Have your students create their own shampoo. This might seem like a bit of odd activity, but it goes a long way to helping students understand the real-world implications of STEM.

All you need for this activity is a pure Castile liquid soap to act as the base for your homemade shampoo and a variety of things to add to it. Having your students add more ingredients such as conditioner, herbs, or scented essential oils would let them experiment and make something that they use every day. Your students might then have a solid understanding of what some everyday products are usually composed of.

Test Water Quality

Testing water quality is a stem activity that is both fun and accessible to students. It also helps them with critical-thinking since it introduces them to many of today’s most pressing STEM-related issues.

In order to do this activity, all you need is regular tap water and any of a number of water testing kits. These kits are widely available and come in a variety of styles for every budget. Have each student use a kit to test a sample of tap water and write a short report about their findings.

This activity gives students something to ponder on that may come in handy in the real world. After learning this in the classroom, they can go and test their water at home or in any other location.

The best STEM activities are ones that instill real-world learning and give students the desire to test something outside of the classroom. Other grade stem activities require a little more supervision but can also have amazing results. 

Rainbow Fire

rainbow fire - using fire for STEM activity

Here’s where we get to activities that really separate K5 education from middle schoolers. The rainbow fire experiment is a great way to introduce more advanced students to the nuances of chemical reactions. This stem activity is so memorable that it might give students something to talk about for weeks. 

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Since this experiment involves fire, it’s recommended that the students should only observe while an educator handles the experiment. By demonstrating how common chemicals can change the color of fire, students can then learn all about chemical reactions. This is one of the most rewarding and advanced STEM activities that you can introduce to 8th graders. 

STEM Activity Ideas for 8th Graders

When picking out good STEM activities for 8th graders, you’ll want to find something that’s going to simultaneously respect their budding independence while still recognizing that they need guidance when exploring different STEM topics. That way, you can help students explore more complicated scientific topics and give them a chance to have hands-on education that can help them prepare for technological challenges ahead.

These STEM activities are a great way for 8th graders to explore the world around them and build upon the STEM education they picked up in their K5 years. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is STEM different for middle school?

As children enter middle school, their ability to work with STEM topics increases. During K-5, children learn the basics of STEM that mainly involves scientific experimentation. Middle school is a very important time that bridges the gap between those basic skills and the more complicated topics they will be picking up in high school and college.

Middle school children are eager to learn new and more advanced STEM activities. They’re also able to handle more complicated experiments and have access to resources the elementary school children do not.

Why should 8th graders study STEM?

There is a misconception that STEM activities are just for K-5. STEM activities can also be a great choice for students in middle school. As time goes by, most children might have a growing complexity of today’s technological challenges. Studying STEM in middle school can give them an advantage when they reach higher education.

Why are STEM activities useful?

STEM activities usually mean that students might have a hands-on approach to learn something. Rather than just an old fashioned lecture, these activities allow students to experience scientific realities firsthand. STEM activities can also give students of any age the first-hand experience in everything from designing scientific experiments all the way to programming. This helps to install a lifelong curiosity and helps them to gain a footing in today’s increasingly demanding STEM world.

Mark Coster, BSc(Hons) PhD MRACI CChem
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