Hacking STEM Lessons & Hands-On Activities Build affordable inquiry and project-based activities to visualize data across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. Middle school standards-based lesson plans written by teachers for teachers.

Hacking STEM Lessons & Hands-On Activities

Build affordable inquiry and project-based activities to visualize data across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. Middle school standards-based lesson plans written by teachers for teachers.

Lesson Plans, They’re Free!

PARTNER EDITION

Using Pythagorean theorem to Measure Topography

Students build measuring tools from cardboard or LEGO® bricks to create an initial transportation plan for an island national park in Excel. Next, they use the Pythagorean theorem to design their road and bring their national park to life by adding topographic elements in Paint 3D.

MAKE THE MEASURING TOOLS
Teacher Generated

Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact

Students build temperature and electrical conductivity sensors from wire and drinking straws to measure the impact of human activity on freshwater ecosystems. Students first study and assess the quality of water from a simulated watershed and then from their own community.

MAKE A CONDUCTIVITY SENSOR
PARTNER EDITION

Measuring Speed to Understand Forces and Motion

Students use everyday objects to sensorize their cars and track. Then, measure speed and collision force in a customized Excel workbook.

Make a Sensorized Track

Harnessing Electricity to Communicate

Students build a telegraph out of everyday objects to understand electrical energy and its role in communications. Then, they use a customized workbook to send and receive information in Morse code using their telegraph.

Make a Telegraph

Building Machines that Emulate Humans

Students build robotic models from cardboard and straws to understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the human hand. Then, they conduct trials visualizing data in Excel to generate new ideas for improving it’s performance.

Make A Robotic Hand

Using Computational Thinking to Understand Earthquakes

Students build a seismograph to visualize earthquake data and explore modern engineering techniques used to mitigate earthquake damage. Then, they engage in an Excel big data activity to understand plate tectonics.

Make a Seismograph

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Using Pythagorean theorem to Measure Topography

Students use the Pythagorean theorem to explore and measure topography in 2D/3D space. Acting as environmental surveyors and engineers, they build measuring tools with cardboard or LEGO® bricks to create and visualize an initial transportation plan for the development of an island national park in Excel. Their goal is to build an efficient transportation plan that minimizes the environmental impact on the island. They then bring their National Park to life by adding topographic elements in Paint 3D.

Hacking STEM is made possible by a partnership between the Education Workshop, Hack for Good and the Microsoft Garage

What is the Education Workshop?

A small incubation team inside of Microsoft that focuses on developing next generation hardware, software, and services for K-12 education. Our goal is to support teachers building inquiry and project-based activities that embed computational and design thinking into existing middle school curriculum. We want to democratize STEM for learners and demonstrate how all schools can provide affordable opportunities to bring ‘making’ and 21st century technical skills to the classroom. Hacking STEM was originally prototyped by the Education Workshop as a Hack For Good during Microsoft’s 2016 //Oneweek Hackathon. Our ‘hacked’ version of Excel brings to life the fundamentals of science, opens the emerging world of IOT to the classroom and helps educators meet the NGSS and ISTE standards for data science.


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Hack for Good

Hack for Good is the community of employees who want to use their technical and business hacking skills to help solve the world's greatest societal problems. The goal is to foster a community that will collaborate, create and build solutions that will empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft philanthropies

The Microsoft Garage

The Microsoft Garage "Ship Channel" is Microsoft's official outlet for experimental projects from small teams across the company to test a hypothesis, receive early customer feedback, and determine product market fit. The Garage provides expert guidance and a lightweight release process to help teams get their experiments out quickly.

Microsoft Garage