5 STEM Activities Books
You Should Read

Winter break is the best time to curl up with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book, but there’s always planning to be done for 2018. What’s the best way to combine those activities? Reading one of these great books to gather ideas for STEM activities in the coming year. Check out why these are our top five picks:

1. The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create, and Learn by Colleen and Aaron GravesGraves's "The Big Book of Makerspace Projects," a great book for inspiring STEM activities.

Two school librarians put together this spectacular collection of creative activities. Page through 12 chapters of projects using everything from popsicle sticks to smartphones to 3D Printers. Our personal favorite? Project 7, a Balloon Hovercraft! With 51 projects in all, plus a challenge project for every chapter, this book is chock full of inspiration for your classroom — or even your free time before heading back to school!

2. The Way Things Work Now by David MacaulayMacCauley's "The Way Things Work Now," a great book for inspiring STEM activities.

This volume, an updated version of the author’s previous work, The Way Things Work and The Way Things Work Now, explores today’s technology and new inventions, and explains the science behind them. What’s especially cool is that Macaulay explores the technological links between seemingly unrelated products to highlight the engineering principles that unify them! Break out this book to spark your students’ curiosity to kick off STEM activities, such as research projects.

3. The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus EnzensbergerEnzensberger's "The Number Devil," a great book for inspiring STEM activities.

With its earliest publication date back in 1997, this is an oldie but a goodie. Enzensberger’s novel teaches important math concepts with through the dreams of a young boy named Robert, accompanied by wild, fun illustrations. The Number Devil is super helpful and entertaining for kids, and you’ll enjoy the read, too! It can inspire countless great activities. Maybe have students get creative and explain a STEM concept as if it were one of Robert’s dreams!

4. The Lego Ideas Book by Daniel LipkowitzLipkowitz's "The Lego Ideas Book," a great book for inspiring STEM activities.

Ah, the most timeless of toys. There will be tons of new Lego sets coming to kids this holiday season — especially with the new Star Wars movie coming out. (Who’s excited? Nobody more than us!) Open up your kids’ creativity with new ways of using the plastic bricks they’re so familiar with. Maybe you’ve got that big box of random Legos in your classroom? This book will help you turn them into a great engineering and design activity. Sounds like a blast!

5. Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age by Kurt SquireSquire's "Video Games and Learning," a great book for inspiring STEM activities.

Check out this book for a deep dive on the extraordinary power of digital games as educational tools. Squire’s work covers highly important, innovative material that will help you understand the future of digital gaming in education, and why it has so much potential. One of the most interesting topics is Squire’s look at how competition, participation, and failure stimulate learning. The book also features case studies on specific learning games, so you can see if they might be a good fit for your class!

We hope you find some inspiration for STEM activities this holiday season. If you do, share your class’s projects with us on social media — we’d love to see them!

Legendary Season of Giving

We’ve made it to December, the Legendary Season of Giving! While you’re giving your students the gift of engaging science games in the classroom, there may be additional teachers out there who have yet to discover Legends of Learning. Since it is the season of giving, we decided to add to the fun and offer gifts for teachers who refer us.

Between now and December 31, when you refer other science teachers and they start using Legends of Learning*, you’ll receive the following gifts:

Give the gift of science games, and Captain Kinetic and the Legends will give you gifts!

  • 1 Referral – Gift: Dean Silencio Pez Head (Pez included!)
  • 3 Referrals – Gift: LoL T-shirt & Cape set
  • 5 Referrals – Gift: Two tickets to Star Wars: The Last Jedi (or a movie of your choice)
  • Plus, don’t forget, you also earn 1000 coins for every referral! That’s good for 1000 science games for your students to play.

Give your colleagues the gift of game-based learning and celebrate the Legendary Season of Giving! There’s no better way to liven up a classroom at the end of the calendar year. Start making referrals today! (Not sure how? Find out in the Hall of Knowledge.)

Celebrate the Legendary Season of Giving and give the gift of game-based learning.
*In order to qualify for a gift, referred teachers need to log in and launch a playlist on Legends of Learning by December 31.

Young STEM Visionaries Share their Inspiration

This November’s STEM Visions Contest featured submissions from teachers across the country, from California to Oklahoma to Massachusetts. All of the entries demonstrated how much these legendary science teachers inspire their students on a daily basis.

The contest was an overarching STEM activity for students. Teachers launched playlists of Legends of Learning science games in class, then asked how students could see themselves pursuing a career in STEM fields. Entries were posted on Facebook (and some on Google Docs).

Students wowed us with their visions for the future. The most popular ideas for future STEM careers were in the fields of veterinary science, astronomy, marine biology, and engineering.

The Winners

With so many thoughtful, creative entries, it was difficult to select the winners. Ultimately, after much deliberation, we had a winning submission: Kimberly King from Green Fields School (Tucson, AZ)! Kimberly submitted 21 students’ STEM visions, showcasing an impressive array of ideas they have for how to impact the world in their future careers. View her entire album of submissions here.


For winning the contest, Kimberly will receive a $1000 grant on DonorsChoose.org, along with a full-year license for her school to use Legends of Learning!

Four more of the most impressive submissions were selected as runners-up. View their submissions by clicking the links below:

Veronica Hennessey, Simonds Elementary (San José, CA)
Joy Johnson, Lewis and Clarke Middle School (Jefferson City, MO)
Denise Galiano, Cedar Hill Preparatory School (Somerset,NJ)
Scott Beiter, Rensselaer Middle School (Rensselaer, NY)

Congratulations to our winner, Kimberly, our runners-up, Veronica, Joy, Denise, and Scott, and all of the amazing educators who entered the contest! More importantly, thank you to all of these teachers for investing in the future by inspiring their students every single day.

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