This image shows a DIY cell phone stand with a toy cell phone displayed. The text says "Beginning of Year STEM Activities."

Beginning of Year STEM Activities for Middle School

Are you looking for beginning of the year STEM activities? I’ve got you covered! 

With this free lesson and some random materials from your cupboard, your middle school students will learn the basics of engineering. Then you can sit back and enjoy your last few days of summer knowing your first days of school are planned and ready to go.

This image shows school supplies and a worksheet that reads "What is engineering?" on a white background.

What’s included in the lesson?

Introducing middle school students to STEM can be tricky! This lesson will engage and amaze your students as they learn the fundamentals of engineering. 

  • First, your students share their background knowledge about engineering. 
  • Then they will attempt to design and build a cell phone stand in a mini STEM challenge. This experience helps them start identifying some of their own misconceptions and construct a deeper understanding of what engineers do. 
  • Next, students will research the definition of engineering and different engineering careers. 
  • Finally, students reflect on their learning and revise their definition of engineering from the beginning of class.
Your students will love designing their own
cell phone stands!

The lesson also includes printable and digital student materials, detailed teacher notes, a slideshow to help with lesson facilitation, and an answer key.

How can the beginning of year STEM activities be used in your classroom?

  • As a fun introduction to STEM and engineering
  • For an easy and engaging emergency sub plan
  • Assign the lesson to be completed on virtual or asynchronous learning days
  • Use the resource as extra credit or an extension activities

Build a foundation for the rest of your coursework

When students learn that the products of engineering are found all around us, engineers work in just about any field imaginable, and you will be using engineering to solve real-world problems, they become much more interested in STEM class and the work you will do together.

Grab a free copy of this low-prep lesson today. You’ll get back your nights and weekends while knowing your students will be engaged in learning on the first days of school!

Looking for more ready-to-go STEM activities?

Check out this engineering design process bundle. This complete unit will engage your students and help them master the engineering design process while having lots of fun! The resource includes over 200 pages of resources that can be used individually where they best fit within your STEM course or taught in sequence as a 5-week middle school engineering design process unit. 

Engineering design process unit plan and lessons

I hope you have an amazing school year!


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Hi, I'm Trilby!

I help middle school educators like you facilitate high quality STEM lessons that engage and challenge students while saving time and energy.

Grab your free STEM lesson!