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.

¡AHORA LOS PLANES DE LECCIONES ESTÁN DISPONIBLES EN ESPAÑOL!

Lesson Plans, They’re Free!

Teacher Generated Circular illustration of an electrical conductivity sensor made out of a cup of water, some crocodile clips and cable.

Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact

Students build 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 Circular illustration of a light gate being used along with Hot Wheels® track and cars.

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
A Telegraph with a circular background

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
A robotic hand with a circular background

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

A seismograph with a circular background

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
A windmill with a circular background

Increasing Power Through Design


Students build a windmill and a wind turbine and measure its capacity to lift weight. Then they engage in a blade design challenge to achieve maximum power output. The results are visualized and analyzed in Excel.

Make a windmill
Teacher Generated lesson

Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact

This activity has students acting as stream hydrologists. They construct an Electrical Conductivity (EC) Sensor using inexpensive materials such as drinking straws and wire. In addition, they explore proportional relationships using Excel graphs to calibrate the EC Sensor for accuracy. They then use the calibrated sensor to compare and contrast the quality of different water samples visualized in a custom Excel Workbook.

The skills covered in the lesson - Mechanical, electrical and software engineering and data science
MAKE A CONDUCTIVITY SENSOR

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.

Need help? Have questions?

hackstem@microsoft.com Click here to navigate through to Microsoft's Hacking STEM Twitter page. @hacking_STEM

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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
Microsoft Garage logo being made into a sign

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