Unique Fall STEM Activities for the Classroom

Autumn ushers in a time of change. The leaves change colors and fall to the ground, the temperatures change for the season, and our schedules change as we get settled into a new school year. Educators can harness the excitement that comes with all the changes of Fall to engage students in STEAM learning!

One way educators can keep STEAM curriculum fresh and relevant is by planning seasonal projects. In this article, you’ll find fall-inspired STEAM activities that will encourage students to embrace science, technology, engineering, arts, and math in new ways. Explore these unique seasonal ideas and adjust them to align to your schools’ STEAM needs.

Bright idea – When stuck in a seasonal STEAM rut, educators can still capitalize on timely events by creating activities based on fun calendar holidays. Check out this calendar from TeacherVision to get started!

6 Unique Ideas for Fall STEAM Activities

#1 World Space Week

From Wednesday, October 4, to Tuesday, October 10, we celebrate World Space Week internationally! This week specifically celebrates the science, technology, and engineering that enables and enhances space exploration. It also brings awareness to the advancements that humanity has discovered through our studies of space.

You may wonder why space week spans across two calendar weeks. That’s because in 1999, when World Space Week was first declared, the United Nations chose to bookend the week with the anniversaries of two important events.

  1. On October 4, 1957, the first human-made satellite launched into orbit! Sputnik orbited Earth, providing revolutionary data and insights on our planet and the universe in which it’s located.
  2. On October 10, 1967, the Outer Space Treaty was opened for signing. This treaty aligned nations in space exploration through governing principles in order to protect the moon and other celestial bodies.

Celebrate World Space Week by exploring space-themed topics in honor of these historic events! Create small groups, and task students with researching a significant space-related discovery or event. When was Jupiter discovered? Where was the first rocket launched into space from? How did we calculate the distance between Earth and the Sun? These are just a few of the endless questions that students can answer in their research. When they’re finished, provide them with materials to illustrate and present their findings to their class.

For students grades 4-6, consider our Planetary Pathways STEAM project! This activity offers students the opportunity to create an Orrery, or a motorized rotating model of the Sun, Earth, and Moon. Teach key STEAM concepts about technological devices while teaching your students about space and planets! Click here to learn more about the Planetary Pathways STEAM project.

#2 Earth Science Week

From October 8 to October 14, celebrate Earth Science Week! This week was created in 1998 to bring international awareness and appreciation to the study of our planet and its various ecosystems.

Fortunately, Earth sciences are fairly broad. This leaves you plenty of options for tying the week into your STEAM curriculum. Under the umbrella of Earth sciences, you can focus on geology, tectonic plates, oceans, weather, climate, and much more.

Meteorology, or the study of the atmosphere, helps us forecast the weather. To explore this concept with your students, check out our Weather Station STEAM project for grades 3-5. Help students answer the essential question: How can we observe and collect weather data using technology? Teach key concepts related to weather and weather patterns, as well as technology and electricity!

#3 Halloween

Regardless of grade-level, students love Halloween. Celebrate the holiday by incorporating relevant themes or characters into your STEAM projects.

For example, students can make Halloween-decorated recycled parachutes. Then, they can try to have them land inside a jack-o-lantern or cauldron. Access the TinkRpedia Makerspace Lesson Library for more information and ideas on recycled parachutes.

#4 STEM/STEAM Day

November 8 is STEM/STEAM day. What a perfect day to celebrate STEAM with your students!

Help your students deepen their love for STEAM education. Download our I Heart STEAM Puzzle to complete with your class. Use this puzzle to discover ways to make connections with students through your STEAM instruction in the future.

Of course, you can also celebrate STEM/STEAM day with a new Project-based Learning STEAM project. If you don’t know where to start, visit our free Makerspace Lesson Library, TinkRpedia, for ideas. Remember, STEAM projects can be customized to suit the needs of your students. Get creative with it!

#5 America Recycles Day

On November 14, explore the fun of recycling to celebrate America Recycles Day. There are so many ways to incorporate recycled materials or reuse items in STEAM projects.

One option is to have students create a bird feeder out of recycled items. Fall is a great time of year to bird-watch. With the leaves thinning, it is easier to spot birds in the trees. Many birds begin to migrate south for the winter during the fall, and you may have a prime viewpoint depending on your geographical location. Make the most of it with some well-positioned bird feeders. Fill them with leftover sunflower seeds from the summer, or pumpkin seeds harvested while carving jack-o-lanterns! Visit our free Makerspace Lesson Library for more information on recycled bird feeders.

For more recycling-focused STEAM ideas, read our blog article on STEAM and Sustainability in the Classroom.

#6 Thanksgiving

In a season of giving thanks, show your gratitude for STEAM education! Lead a classroom discussion and share a few of the reasons why you are grateful for STEAM. Afterward, have students complete the I Heart STEAM Puzzle.

This allows you a chance to collect their thoughts and feedback. You can learn what excited them about STEAM, and use that knowledge to guide your STEAM curriculum going forward. Tailor your projects to the aspects of STEAM that they relate to. This will give them a stronger sense of excitement around STEAM learning!

Bonus Fall STEM Activities Inspiration

If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration for other fall STEAM activities, here is a list of more noteworthy events that can tie into lessons and projects.

  • Day of the Programmer – September 13
  • Anniversary of the first skyscraper opening in NYC – September 27
  • Anniversary of Henry Ford introducing the first Model T – October 1
  • Anniversary of Thomas Edison showing the first motion picture – October 6
  • National LED Light Day – October 7
  • Metric Week – October 10-16
  • Chemistry Week – October 22-28
  • National Mole Day (Avagadro’s number) – October 23
  • International Day of Medical Physics – November 7
  • World Diabetes Day (celebrated on the birthday of Dr. Frederick Grant Banting, the doctor who discovered insulin) – November 14
  • Red Planet Day – November 28

In Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to refresh your approach to STEAM as a class, or you want to incorporate STEAM learning into your curriculum for the first time, the fall offers a variety of opportunities to make STEAM learning relevant and engaging to your students. Feel empowered to explore additional ideas, and customize projects and activities to engage your class. Embrace the change that this season has to offer, and revitalize your class with one of these STEAM activities!