International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. It’s also a day to promote gender equality and empower women and girls in all areas of their lives, including in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
With STEM Education reaching more and more classrooms, educators can inspire and encourage their students to pursue a career in these in-demand fields.
To help educators incorporate STEM in their lesson plans, we have prepared some easy-to-set-up activities for the classroom. All inspired by women who shaped the way we use technology and made a big impact on STEM.
Ada Lovelace & Writing Algorithms, STEM Activity
Have you ever wondered who is the world’s first computer programmer? We have the answer – it’s Ada Lovelace! Lovelace is known for writing the first algorithm (a series of instructions) to be processed by a machine, way before computers as we know them even existed.
To engage kids in a STEM activity about algorithms, the first step would be to explain to them what algorithms are. Simply put algorithms are a set of instructions that explain how an action should be performed. The instructions have to be very clear and they have to be in the correct order to achieve a specific outcome.
Let’s celebrate women in technology by building an algorithm!
We have created a free printable, where kids are given a set of instructions. Out of the 9 instructions they need to identify the 6 correct ones and put them in the right order.
Kids can work alone or in teams. Download the “Build an algorithm” printable here.
Grace Hopper & Debugging, STEM Activity
When it comes to STEM, we have all heard the terms ‘bug’ and ‘de-bug’. But did you know that it was a woman who coined the terms?
Grace Hopper is a computer scientist, who is credited with coining the terms ‘bug’ and ‘de-bug’. Hopper and her colleagues were the first to create a program, called Flow-Matic, that allowed English words to be used as commands. Before that, only mathematical notation could be used. Hopper also helped develop COBOL, considered the first user-friendly computer programming language.
Let’s talk about debugging! What is debugging? It’s when you find an issue with a program and you have to find what is causing the problem. Often the problem is a mistake in the algorithm.
Let’s celebrate women in computer science by practicing debugging!
We have created a free printable, where kids are given a maze and a solution to the maze. But there seem to be bugs in the solution/algorithm..
Kids need to debug the algorithm / find the mistakes and fix them. Kids can work alone or in teams. There is a simple and advanced map. Download the “Practise Debugging” printable here.
Margaret Hamilton & Binary Code, STEM Activity
Margaret Hamilton was one of the first computer software programmers. She coined the term “software engineering” to describe her work.
Hamilton was part of NASA’s Apollo program which landed people on the Moon for the first time. She was in charge of the flight software for the Apollo space mission. Programming back then was in binary format. Hamilton used a series of 1’s and 0’s that form letters, which then form a code the computer could read.
Let’s celebrate women in software engineering by trying out binary code!
Download our free printable “Binary Code” and let your students practice writing their names in binary code and decode a mysterious message.
Emily Warren Roebling & Building a Bridge, STEM Activity
Emily Warren Roebling is known as one of the first female construction engineers who managed the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband and the chief engineer, Washington A. Roebling fell ill and died. Even though Roebling was never given any official title, her contributions were greatly recognized. She became the public face of one of the most iconic construction projects, the Brooklyn Bridge, by managing contractors, staff, politicians, and reporters.
When the Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1883, Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge, which at the time was the longest, tallest suspension bridge.
Let’s celebrate women in engineering by constructing a bridge!
Students can work alone or in teams. Provide them with materials, such as popsicle sticks, straws, paper cups, glue, tape, scissors, rubber bands, and string, to create their bridges.
During the activity, students must consider several factors, such as the length and strength of the bridge, its load-bearing capacity, and the overall design. They must use their knowledge of physics, mathematics, and engineering to create a bridge that can support a specified amount of weight.
Once the students complete their bridges, they test them by adding weights (e.g. plastic cars) incrementally to see how much they can hold. The students can compare their designs and learn from each other’s successes and mistakes.
STEM in the Classroom
STEM activities are a valuable addition to any elementary classroom. By providing opportunities for students to engage in hands-on, experiential learning, educators can spark the students’ curiosity and encourage them to pursue a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math
Check out our blog posts for more easy-to-set-up STEM activities for your classroom.
Teach STEM with KUBO
These STEM printables are brought to you by KUBO, the educational robot for K-5. It’s easy to teach computational thinking and programming with KUBO. With a standards-aligned curriculum and a wide range of hands-on and cross-curricular activities, you get everything you need to keep your students interested and engaged in learning basic coding concepts.
To see KUBO in action, check out our website.