Skip to Content

15+ Powerful STEM Activities for High School Students

You might think that STEM activities for high school students are difficult to come by but if you’re willing to look a little deeper, there are plenty of fun STEM activities for you to choose from.

Is your teen interested in STEM and looking for ways to explore, experiment, and build at home?

You don’t need an engineering lab of fancy equipment to experiment with engineering and science at home. All you need are some simple materials and a little time to explore!

high school student enjoying a STEM activity with test tubes

STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, is an educational path that is, quite literally, producing the future leaders of tomorrow.

Trust me – you definitely want to engage your teens in STEM lesson plans. Or perhaps even a full-on STEM curriculum.

This article may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Free Scientific Method Worksheets

free scientific method worksheets

Before you move on, I’ve got some free scientific method worksheets for you to download and enjoy. These printable worksheets are useful for any science experiment, science project, STEM challenge, or STEM projects your students might be engaging in.

Turn every science project and STEAM activity into a thought-provoking STEM challenge. Plus give left brain and right brain kiddos alike a chance to utilize their strengths and improve their weaknesses.Go get your scientific method worksheets now!

Fun and Educational STEM Activities for High School Students

Here are some excellent STEM activities for high school students that you can try today.

And of course they are appropriate for mature middle school students as well, should you so choose.

Homemade Archery Bow

Does your teen love Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings? If so, there is a good chance they’re interested in archery.  

With a half-inch PVC pipe, an inexpensive heat gun, a handsaw, and some polypropylene string, you and your teen can make a fully-functional bow at home. You will plan out the shape and grip, measure, and cut. In about an hour, your child will have a light-weight, custom-built archery bow.

Modern Archery Is !: What Is Archery LikeModern Archery Is !: What Is Archery LikeArchery for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Shooting Recurve and Compound BowsArchery for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Shooting Recurve and Compound BowsKRATARC Archery Arm Guard Adjustable Protective 3-Strap Accessory Lightweight Hunting Target Shooting Adult Unisex (Black, Length 9'')KRATARC Archery Arm Guard Adjustable Protective 3-Strap Accessory Lightweight Hunting Target Shooting Adult Unisex (Black, Length 9'')Highwild Archery Target Stand for Bag Targets Block Cube Foam - Larger Range - Multi-Function - Flexible - DurableHighwild Archery Target Stand for Bag Targets Block Cube Foam - Larger Range - Multi-Function - Flexible - DurableArchery Gloves Shooting Hunting Leather Three Finger Protector for Youth Adult Beginner - MArchery Gloves Shooting Hunting Leather Three Finger Protector for Youth Adult Beginner - MMxessua 45Mxessua 45

 

Of course, you’ll also want to have a conversation about archery safety and boundaries for use. But there’s no doubt your young engineer will get a kick out of the project.

You can find full information on how to make a homemade bow out of PVC pipe here. This is a wonderful STEM challenge that teens and educators alike will remember for years.

Multi-Colored Fire

Have your high schoolers ever made multi-colored fire? Teenagers love fire and what better way to allow them to combine adventure with education than by enjoying a multi-colored flames science experiment?

In this dragon-themed STEM activity, high schoolers will get to experiment with various chemical elements as they determine what color of flame each element will create. This activity opens up a fun discussion on chemical reactions, physical reactions, and of course, fire.

high school students enjoyin STEM activities

Learn more about this fun dragon fire science experiment now! Trust me – this will be a STEM activity your high schoolers will not soon forget.

Aquaponics Project

If your high school student is interested in biology and the environment, consider helping them build a miniature ecosystem at home.

Aquaponics combines a hydroponic indoor garden with a fish aquarium. This is a wonderful STEM activity for high school students, combining tech, engineering, and earth science which of course makes it one of the best real-world science activities on this list.

Back to the Roots Water Garden, Self-Cleaning Fish Tank That Grows Food, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem (Great Gardening Gift & Family Project), 3 GallonsBack to the Roots Water Garden, Self-Cleaning Fish Tank That Grows Food, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem (Great Gardening Gift & Family Project), 3 GallonsZXMT 40 Pots Hydroponics Tower Aquaponics Grow System Garden Tower Aeroponics Growing Kit for Indoor & Outdoor - Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables - Hydrating Pump, Timer, Adapter, Seeding Bed & Net PotsZXMT 40 Pots Hydroponics Tower Aquaponics Grow System Garden Tower Aeroponics Growing Kit for Indoor & Outdoor - Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables - Hydrating Pump, Timer, Adapter, Seeding Bed & Net PotsVIVOSUN 3-Gallon Aquaponic Fish Tank, Hydroponic Cleaning Tank for Freshwater Fish to Feed Plants and Plants Clean Tank, Additional Thermostat, Flow Pump, and Ceramsite IncludedVIVOSUN 3-Gallon Aquaponic Fish Tank, Hydroponic Cleaning Tank for Freshwater Fish to Feed Plants and Plants Clean Tank, Additional Thermostat, Flow Pump, and Ceramsite IncludedAquaponics for ProfitAquaponics for ProfitAquaponics: 4 Easy and Affordable Ways to Build Your Own Aquaponic System and Raise Fish and Plants TogetherAquaponics: 4 Easy and Affordable Ways to Build Your Own Aquaponic System and Raise Fish and Plants Together

 

To begin, you and your student will plan together what fish and plants will thrive in the space available. Next, you assemble the main components: a tank, pump and filter system, grow-bed, and light. Once everything’s built, you can add plants and gilled friends.

An aquaponics project will provide both a construction activity and ongoing care and maintenance opportunities for your STEM-focused youngster.

You can find more information and resources on classroom aquaponics here.

Soda Mentos Rocket

No matter the high schooler, they will love the idea of a little at-home combustion.

This activity is a fun, safe way to engage in rocket propulsion. Plus, they’ll learn something in the process. This STEM activity will teach your high school student about chemical reactions and physics. It lets you get outside and work with simple tools and materials.

Besides soda and a roll of Mentos mints, you will need two 2-liter bottles, a small length of PVC pipe, a single adapter, a ball valve, and some epoxy glue. The only tools are a saw and some sandpaper. You can buy everything at Lowes for less than twenty dollars.

LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V 92176 Outer Space Model Rocket for Kids and Adults, Science Building Kit (1969 Pieces)LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V 92176 Outer Space Model Rocket for Kids and Adults, Science Building Kit (1969 Pieces)PLAYSTEM Outdoor Water Powered Rocket Physics Learning Set-with Rocket Tail, Body and Pump DIY Rocket Science Experiment Kit- Space STEM Outdoor Toys Gift for Kids,Teens, Boys & GirlsPLAYSTEM Outdoor Water Powered Rocket Physics Learning Set-with Rocket Tail, Body and Pump DIY Rocket Science Experiment Kit- Space STEM Outdoor Toys Gift for Kids,Teens, Boys & Girls4M 4605 Water Rocket Kit - DIY Science Space Stem Toys Gift for Kids & Teens, Boys & Girls , White4M 4605 Water Rocket Kit - DIY Science Space Stem Toys Gift for Kids & Teens, Boys & Girls , WhiteEstes - 1754 Wizard Flying Model Rocket Bulk Pack (Pack of 12) | Intermediate Rocket Kit | Step-by-Step Instructions | Science Education Kits | Great for Teachers, Youth Group Leaders and BirthdaysEstes - 1754 Wizard Flying Model Rocket Bulk Pack (Pack of 12) | Intermediate Rocket Kit | Step-by-Step Instructions | Science Education Kits | Great for Teachers, Youth Group Leaders and BirthdaysEstes Generic E2X Flying Model Rocket | Build Your Own Beginner Rocket Kit | Soars up to 1000 ft. | Fun Educational Activity | STEM KitsEstes Generic E2X Flying Model Rocket | Build Your Own Beginner Rocket Kit | Soars up to 1000 ft. | Fun Educational Activity | STEM Kits

 

From there, you and your teen can create your two-chamber rocket setup at home. In the process, your student will learn how acidic and base elements combine to produce carbon dioxide and what happens when that gas builds up.

Be sure to make a video of the explosive results! The full step-by-step guide for this DIY soda bottle rocket STEM project is here. This is a STEM challenge that combines science experiments with engineering challenges. You could even throw in some technology if your teen was ambitious enough.

Edible DNA Model

High schoolers, even those with a strong interest in STEM, sometimes find genetics abstract and difficult to grasp. The terminology and rules governing DNA can seem impenetrable.

One surefire way for you to enliven DNA learning is with a three-dimensional visual aid. Even better, you can construct it from your child’s favorite sweet treats.

As you may or may not remember, there are four nitrogen bases that sequence to form a unique DNA strand: Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine. They arrange according to certain rules.

Two teenage boys enjoying some STEM activities for high school students

Use Twizzlers (or Red Vines, if you prefer) as the phosphate backbone of the strand, and either gumdrops or colored marshmallows as the nitrogen bases. You can even have younger siblings sort the colors!

From there, using a DNA strand plan coded to the candy colors, your student forms base pairings on toothpicks. Once all the pairings are set and sequenced, you can spear them in a “ladder” formation with the Twizzlers. With one twist, you’ll have a lovely, tasty double helix DNA strand.

You can find all the DIY edible DNA project details here. Enjoy this STEM activity in your homeschool or in a public school setting.

Bath Bombs

Have your teens ever made homemade bath bombs?

This STEM experiment is great for showcasing chemistry at its finest. Work with chemical reactions, learn about citric acid (C₆H₈O₇), baking soda (NaHCO₃), and how they react when they combine (3NaHCO3 + C6H8O7 → C6H5Na3O7 + 3CO2 + 3H2O).

Learn about catalysts and why they are important. You could even take this adventure further and dive into teenaged entrepreneurship!

It’s all very complicated and extremely fascinating.

Plus when you’re done, you’ll have some fun bath bombs to enjoy! Go enjoy your own DIY bath bomb science experiment now!

Crystal Egg Geodes

Growing salt or Borax crystals on pipe cleaners might be too juvenile for high school teens, but have your students ever grown crystals inside of eggshells?

This STEM activity combines the simplicity of crystal growing with the complexity and delicacy of eggs. Eggs are very fragile and your students will have to use extreme patience in order to get every scrap of the membrane off of the eggshells.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit - Rock Polisher for Kids & Adults, Noise-Reduced Barrel, Grit, 2.5 Pounds Raw Gemstone & Jasper Mix, Great STEM Hobby KitNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit - Rock Polisher for Kids & Adults, Noise-Reduced Barrel, Grit, 2.5 Pounds Raw Gemstone & Jasper Mix, Great STEM Hobby KitNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Break Open 10 Premium Geodes – Includes Goggles, Detailed Learning Guide & 2 Display Stands - Great STEM Science Gift for Mineralogy & Geology Enthusiasts of Any AgeNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Break Open 10 Premium Geodes – Includes Goggles, Detailed Learning Guide & 2 Display Stands - Great STEM Science Gift for Mineralogy & Geology Enthusiasts of Any AgeNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Rocks & Fossils Kit – 200+ Piece Set Includes Geodes, Real Fossils, Rose Quartz, Jasper, Aventurine & Many More Rocks, Crystals & GemstonesNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Rocks & Fossils Kit – 200+ Piece Set Includes Geodes, Real Fossils, Rose Quartz, Jasper, Aventurine & Many More Rocks, Crystals & GemstonesProfessional Rock Tumbler Kits for Adult Kids Stem Project-3LB Large Capacity Rock Polisher, Ultra Durable Special Belt, Quality Rocks, Speed&Time Control, Science Kits for Kids Geology Stem ToyProfessional Rock Tumbler Kits for Adult Kids Stem Project-3LB Large Capacity Rock Polisher, Ultra Durable Special Belt, Quality Rocks, Speed&Time Control, Science Kits for Kids Geology Stem ToyRock, Mineral & Geodes Activity CollectionRock, Mineral & Geodes Activity Collection

 

Once that is done, they will have to pay close attention to the clock so they catch their crystal egg geodes before the crystals cement the eggshells to the bottom of the jar.

This is a project that combines science, engineering, art, and even a little bit of math. Perfect for the high school STEM lover! Take a closer look at crystal egg geodes now!

The Science of Cookies

High school students are plenty old enough to be able to invent their very own chocolate chip recipe. This is a fun STEM activity that will really test their knowledge of chemistry, science, and baking.

But first, they must learn how each ingredient in a cookie recipe reacts with each other and how they affect an overall recipe. Learn the science of cookies with this fun STEM activity for high school students and then challenge your students to write their very own recipe.

Edible Stained Glass

Do your teens have a passion for art? Are you looking for a STEM activity that is appropriate for high schoolers but still easy and tons of fun? What about edible stained glass?

When your kids enjoy an edible stained glass STEAM activity, they will get to experiment with chemistry while making (or melting) their hard candy. They will work with geometry while making their stained glass templates and determining how much of each colored candy they will need.

COLORFUL Stain Glass Paint Set with 6 Brushes, 1 Palette, 24 Color Waterproof Acrylic Enamel Painting Kit for Kids to Arts on Transparent Wine Glasses, Light Bulbs, Porcelain, Windows and CeramicsCOLORFUL Stain Glass Paint Set with 6 Brushes, 1 Palette, 24 Color Waterproof Acrylic Enamel Painting Kit for Kids to Arts on Transparent Wine Glasses, Light Bulbs, Porcelain, Windows and CeramicsDesign Toscano HD575 Van Gogh Saint-Remy Irises Stained Glass Window Hanging Panel, 17 Inch, Purple IrisDesign Toscano HD575 Van Gogh Saint-Remy Irises Stained Glass Window Hanging Panel, 17 Inch, Purple IrisProfessional 16 Pieces Mosaic tile and Stained Glass Start-up Tool Set with Carrying Case, Lead Came Kit for Beginner with Cutters, Pliers, Square, Hammer, Fid, Safety Glass, etc.Professional 16 Pieces Mosaic tile and Stained Glass Start-up Tool Set with Carrying Case, Lead Came Kit for Beginner with Cutters, Pliers, Square, Hammer, Fid, Safety Glass, etc.Delphi Glass Glass Mosaic Starter Kit | Includes Colorful Stained Glass, Instruction Book and SuppliesDelphi Glass Glass Mosaic Starter Kit | Includes Colorful Stained Glass, Instruction Book and SuppliesDelphi Glass Premium Stained Glass Start-Up Kit | Includes Premium Quality Stained Glass, Glass Grinder, Tools and SuppliesDelphi Glass Premium Stained Glass Start-Up Kit | Includes Premium Quality Stained Glass, Glass Grinder, Tools and Supplies

 

Students can take this project further by researching how glass is made or the history of stained glass through time. Use this project in math class, art history class, or just as a fun, hands-on STEAM activity. Your students will love it.

Learn more about edible stained glass now.

Dry Ice Experiments

Let your teens experiment with dry ice! First, have your students build their own smoking dragons. This is a simple way to introduce them to the basics of dry ice.

Then, when they’ve mastered that (which should be simple at this age), let them see if they can make a contraption that blows bubbles out of dry ice. This is STEM activity your high school students are not likely to forget. Go read more about smoking dragons and dry ice experiments now.

Dragon Paper Airplanes

Can your students take a regular paper airplane concept and transform it into a dragon-shaped piece of origami that flies? High school students will enjoy making dragon paper airplanes and learning the history of this Japanese art form.

POWERUP 4.0 The Next-Generation Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane Kit, RC Controlled. Easy to Fly with Autopilot & Gyro Stabilizer. For Hobbyists, Pilots, Tinkerers. STEM Ready with DIY Modular KitPOWERUP 4.0 The Next-Generation Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane Kit, RC Controlled. Easy to Fly with Autopilot & Gyro Stabilizer. For Hobbyists, Pilots, Tinkerers. STEM Ready with DIY Modular KitBig Mo's Toys 24 Pack 8 Inch Glider Planes - Birthday Party Favor Plane, Great Prize, Handout Glider, Flying Models, Two DozenBig Mo's Toys 24 Pack 8 Inch Glider Planes - Birthday Party Favor Plane, Great Prize, Handout Glider, Flying Models, Two Dozen88The Awesome Paper Airplane Book for Kids: Creative Designs and Fun Tear-Out ProjectsThe Awesome Paper Airplane Book for Kids: Creative Designs and Fun Tear-Out ProjectsKlutz Book of Paper Airplanes Craft KitKlutz Book of Paper Airplanes Craft KitCreativity for Kids Paper Airplane Squadron - Create and Customize 20 Paper PlanesCreativity for Kids Paper Airplane Squadron - Create and Customize 20 Paper Planes

 

Take the learning even further by having your teens get into some data statistics, graphing, and charting. They can even experiment with making graphs and charts in a computer software such as Excel or something similar and you’ve got a full-on high school-appropriate STEM activity on your hands!

Regrowing Kitchen Scraps

This activity focuses on regrowing food from kitchen scraps. Your teens will be able to learn about sexual vs asexual reproduction in plants. Did you know there are several kinds of asexual reproduction? What method do onions and lettuce plants follow?

Your teens will be able to tell you all about the 4 methods of plant reproduction by the end of this activity. Plus they’ll have some applicable life skills that will keep them in delicious and healthy food for the rest of their lives! It’s a win-win! Go learn more about regrowing food from kitchen scraps now.

Paper Mache Dragons

Have you ever made paper mache with your students? Making paper mache is a great example of a fun STEM project for middle schoolers.

Kids can learn to think like an engineer while also solving a multitude of problems and getting very messy. This is a multi-day project, making it perfect for older students such as middle schoolers and high schoolers.

Go learn how to make your very own paper mache dragon now!

DIY Composting Bin

Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and help the environment.

Did you know that you can do a composting STEM project with your teenager? It’s easy, and it’s a fun way to learn about science and recycling.

These DIY composting bin instructions will walk you and your students through the science behind a compost bin, how to build a successful composting bin, and how to keep the learning going for many weeks and months to come! This is a STEM project your high school won’t soon forget.

Saltwater Electrical Current

This one requires closer supervision, but it’s an excellent opportunity to learn about electrical currents.

For this activity, you need a light bulb and socket, plus some four pieces of insulated copper wire. You can find these at any hardware store. Most of the other items are probably already in your house: a plastic food storage tub, popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, a 9V battery, and electrical tape.

Attach a wire to each diode on the battery and each screw on the socket. Connect one diode wire to one screw, then tape the other two wires to popsicle sticks wrapped in foil. Touching these foil electrodes will close the circuit and light up the bulb.

Engineering for Teens: A Beginner's Book for Aspiring EngineersEngineering for Teens: A Beginner's Book for Aspiring EngineersSillbird Robot STEM Projects for Kids Ages 8-12, Remote APP Controlled Robot Building Toys Birthday Gifts for Teens Boys Girls Age 7 9 10 11 13 14, 2021 New (468 Pieces )Sillbird Robot STEM Projects for Kids Ages 8-12, Remote APP Controlled Robot Building Toys Birthday Gifts for Teens Boys Girls Age 7 9 10 11 13 14, 2021 New (468 Pieces )Mould King Model Ships Kits to Build for Kids and Teens, 3653 Pieces Building Blocks The MOC Dutchman Model Ship Sets, STEM Educational Toys for ChildrenMould King Model Ships Kits to Build for Kids and Teens, 3653 Pieces Building Blocks The MOC Dutchman Model Ship Sets, STEM Educational Toys for ChildrenUltimate Coding Kit for Kids 8-15 | 100+ Code & STEM Circuit Projects | Girls & Boys Learn STEM Hands-On | Great Gift!Ultimate Coding Kit for Kids 8-15 | 100+ Code & STEM Circuit Projects | Girls & Boys Learn STEM Hands-On | Great Gift!Yahboom UNO R3 DIY Smart Robot Car Kit with Camera STEM Education with Tutorial CD for Kids Teens Adults Remote Control CarYahboom UNO R3 DIY Smart Robot Car Kit with Camera STEM Education with Tutorial CD for Kids Teens Adults Remote Control CarMakeblock mBot Mega Robot Kit, Compatible with Raspberry Pi, Coding/Programming Metal Robot Car with Arduino IDE, Robotics and Electronics Educational Building STEM Toys for Adults and TeenagersMakeblock mBot Mega Robot Kit, Compatible with Raspberry Pi, Coding/Programming Metal Robot Car with Arduino IDE, Robotics and Electronics Educational Building STEM Toys for Adults and Teenagers

 

Then, submerge the electrodes in water in the plastic tub, and add salt. Guess what? The bulb lights up!

This STEM activity will demonstrate to high school students how a closed circuit works and how sodium ions transmit electricity. Pretty cool!

Everything you need for this DIY saltwater electrical current activity is here. This activity brings problem-solving and critical thinking into the mix in addition to other STEM education lessons.

There is no need for your child to leave STEM exploration and experimentation behind when they aren’t at school. With these STEM activities for high school students, you can bring that scientific curiosity home!

More STEM Resources for High School Students

The Ultimate Collection of STEM Activities
Educational Board Games Collection
Homeschool STEM Curriculum

Like What You See? Tell Your Friends!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Adin Ross

Tuesday 5th of October 2021

These are awesome ideas! I can't wait to pick one of these STEM activities out and satisfy my nerdy loves.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.