3D print a Water Sprinkler
One of the fun parts about summer is that the weather is hot and there are a ton of outdoor water activities that you can do.
Rather than buy a sprinkler at Target or Walmart, try 3D printing one. This is a great way to get students thinking about science without making it a “science lesson.”
Remember when your mom used to cover broccoli in cheese so that you’d eat it? Well, this is just like it!
Students will enjoy the process of learning how to use a 3D printer. Plus, you can expand on the existing CAD files to create unique designs. Once the sprinkler is done printing, students can test it out by having fun running through the sprinklers they made!
2. 3D printed Sundial
Continuing with our 3D printing motif, another cool engineering activity is 3D printing a sundial. A sundial is an instrument that shows the time by using a shadow from the sun.
There are plenty of templates and designs for sundials on Thingiverse.com. You may have to do some calibrating to make the sundial work for your part of the world; however, it is a cool activity that students will have a lot of fun building.
3. Launch bottle rockets
3-2-1, Blastoff! What better way to spend a hot summer day than launching off bottle rockets! First, connect an air pump to a 3D printed bottle mount. Then, attach a plastic soda bottle to the base. Pump air and watch the bottle fly!
This project can be combined with topics in aerodynamics or you can make it a competition by seeing which bottle flies the highest/farthest. There’s a lot of room for customizations leaving the door wide open for creativity.
4. Grow your Food
If gardening is your thing, then how about designing a 3D planter to grow your food!
“Growing your food puts you in control over the things that end up on your plate and teaches how environmental resources like soil, water, and sunlight work together to produce useful plants.”LearningBlade
Students can use free 3D modeling tools like TinkerCAD and Fusion 360 to customize the planter design. Then, add some seeds, soil, and water, to start growing plants. Combine this project with the temperature and humidity probe, and you can have the start of a “smart garden.”
Intermediate STEM Projects for Middle School
These STEM projects for middle schoolers are designed to be a bit more challenging. I recommend some background in (or willingness to learn) coding, electronics, and technology.