10 Cool STEM Activities To Do in Your Holidays

As good as the rest and relaxation of school holidays is, if you’re anything like GIE blogger Lucy, after a week or two your brain is itching for something to do!  So, Lucy has come up with her ultimate summer list to fill those weeks before school starts again, all with a little STEM twist!

1. Get some popcorn and gather your friends for a ‘Ladies in STEM’ movie marathon!
Suggested movies include:
Hidden Figures – about the women behind the first manned NASA space flight
Black Panther – featuring scientist extraordinaire and Wakandan princess Shuri
Ocean’s 8 – though we don’t endorse hacking, 9-ball has some epic computer skills
Gravity – if you ever want to go to space, probably don’t watch this one…
Jurassic Park – who doesn’t love movies about female scientists and resurrected dinosaurs gone wrong?

2. Learn some basic coding skills
Check out Donna’s videos from her coding workshops series in the GIE Facebook Group or have a look at the Khan Academy videos (which is great for a whole range of other subjects as well).

3. Check out a STEM exhibit at your local museum
Sydney has a whole lot of museums with STEM related exhibits that you can go out and visit, such as the Powerhouse Museum, the Sydney Observatory and the Maritime Museum (and some of them are even free to visit!). See what you can find in your local area.

4. Or if you’re interested in biology and animals…
Take a visit to your local zoo, nature park or aquarium! In Sydney this could be Taronga Zoo, Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, or Wildlife Sydney.

5. Lounge around with a good book
Some days it can be fun to stay at home with a good book – especially if it’s super hot outside! See what your local library has on offer. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

A Brief History of Time by Steven Hawking
Headstrong: 52 Women who Changed Science – and the World by Rachel Swaby
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales, Sophie Houser

6. DIY it!
There’s endless DIY projects out there to keep you occupied but if you’re stuck for inspiration, here are some suggestions:
- Why not try building a robot which materials you can find around your house? Have a look online for some inspiration if you don’t know where to start.
- Into chemistry? DIY soap is really cool, and you’ll get to use what you’ve made! You’ll find plenty of recipes online to try. 

7. Research a potential career path
If you’ve always been interested in a particular career path but don’t really know what its about – now’s your chance to find out. Watch some YouTube videos, read some articles, and look up companies that do that kind of work, and reflect on whether you’d be interested in pursuing it as a career path or not!

8. Engineer your way out of an Escape Room
Escape Rooms are a lot of fun and use very similar skills to an engineer in the workforce: they’re all about problem solving and teamwork. See if you can escape in the time limit provided!

9. Find a new STEM TV show to binge ... in moderation ;)
There are loads of STEM related TV shows out there – some scientifically accurate, some not so much… Some of my favourites include:

The Big Bang Theory (ft. 5 scientists and an engineer)
The Good Doctor (if you’re interested in medicine)
Fringe (using science to solve crime!)
MythBusters (which uses real science)
Planet Earth (this really gives you an appreciation for the world we live in)

10. Engineering or Science BINGO!
This is a great activity for when you’re out and about, and can be fun to play by yourself or with others. Make up yourself a bingo board (5x5 is a good size to start with; go bigger if you’re after a challenge) and fill each square with an engineering related object; you then have to try and spot and cross off each item as quickly as possible! Some ideas could include:

  • A suspension bridge
  • Something that could be designed by a biomedical engineer
  • An engineering company sign
  • Something designed by a chemical engineer
  • Something developed by a food scientist

Enjoy the holidays!

- Lucy