35 Shows Perfect for STEM Learning

35 Shows Perfect for STEM Learning

In my post 10 Unique Things Your Future Scientist Needs in His Life, I mentioned that teaching science in the younger ages is very simple, but if you have a future scientist in your house, you may have a slight fear that eventually you will run out of quality curriculum or that your kid will become smarter than you and you will have no clue what you are doing anymore. In that post, I shared ten items that you could purchase to keep the joy in science.

This expands on that list, with thirty-five (!!!) television shows and YouTube channels that I highly recommend. **Be sure to preview all channels and videos before letting your kids have free reign on YouTube.

Adam Savage’s Tested

Tested is a YouTube channel created by legendary Mythbuster Adam Savage. Tested’s website is Adam’s home on the web and is the place where he and his team explore topics in depth, asking the hows and the whys about the things that excite readers the most.

Brain Games

This interactive series uses games, illusions and experiments to illustrate how our brains manufacture our reality and often play tricks on us. Available on Netflix Instant Watch.

The Brain Scoop

The Brain Scoop is a YouTube Channel ran by Emily, the Chief Curiosity Correspondent of The Field Museum in Chicago. This channel shares some of the amazing things from the collections of The Field Museum. Clips include bullet ant venom, a two-face calf, CSI fun, and more.


CGP Grey

CGP Grey is a YouTube Channel which features short explanatory videos on varying subjects, Popular clips include Daylight Saving Time Explained, The Debt Limit Explained, The Simple Solution to Traffic.

Crash Course

Crash Course is a YouTube channel started by the Green brothers, Hank Green and John Green, which contains dozens of videos for physics, astronomy, anatomy and much more.

Curiosity Stream

Curiosity Stream‘s mission is to provide an affordable, ad-free, online destination where the world’s best nonfiction television content can be enjoyed on demand and on any device by the planet’s community of the curious. You can watch more than 1,500 nonfiction programs for only $5.99 month. Click here for a free 30-day trial.

My list of favorites would take way too long for you to read, but just know that there are over 1500 programs covering all aspects of science, math, technology, engineering, and even history, economics, politics, art, music, literature and more.


Design Squad

Design Squad was a PBS reality television series geared towards middle and high-school children, where contestants design whimsical machines in order to win an Intel college scholarship worth $10,000. The show lasted 3 seasons, but reruns can still be seen on TV and also on PBS online.

Extreme Engineering

Host Danny Forster explores the world’s most magnificent feats of engineering — structures seemingly impossible to build and amazing to behold. Watch extraordinary projects in progress as crews defy nature to construct these man-made wonders. From the overhaul of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge to Dubai’s indoor ski resort to Hong Kong’s international airport built 16 miles out at sea, discover the awe-inspiring creations of extreme engineering. Available on Netflix DVD.

Food Tech

Food Tech is a show hosted by Bobby Bognar and currently airing on the FYI Network. The show aims to “deconstruct America’s favorite meals.” For example, one show has a theme of Chinese take-out, in which you are taken to the fields, factories, and warehouses to show the making of fortune cookies, takeout boxes, eggrolls, peking duck, oyster sauce and soy sauce, start to finish. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.


Good Eats

Genius host Alton Brown explores the science and technique behind the cooking, the history of different foods, and the advantages of different kinds of cooking equipment. The show tends to focus on familiar dishes that can easily be made at home, and also features segments on choosing the right appliances, and getting the most out of inexpensive, multi-purpose tools. Each episode has its own theme. Available on Netflix Instant Watch.

How Do They Do It?

Each episode explores how 2 or 3 ordinary objects are made and used. The show’s slogan is “Behind the ordinary is the extraordinary.” Depending on your satellite or cable channel line-up, you may have The Science Channel and can scroll through the guide looking for what interests you. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to SciGo, where you can stream full episodes. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.

How It’s Made

Each episode shows how common, everyday items are manufactured. The show avoids showing a host onscreen, and keeps human interaction with the manufacturing process to a bare minimum. The off-screen narrator explains each process. Depending on your satellite or cable channel line-up, you may have The Science Channel and can scroll through the guide looking for what interests you. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to SciGo, where you can stream full episodes. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.


How to Build…Everything

Each episode is a do-it-yourself guide to building humanity’s greatest inventions. Foe example, episode 1 is Secrets Of A Space Suit…the simple, easy steps to build your very own Jet Wing, Space Suit, and Aerial Tramway. Depending on your satellite or cable channel line-up, you may have The Science Channel and can scroll through the guide looking for what interests you. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to SciGo, where you can stream full episodes. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.

Impossible Engineering

How mega buildings and cutting-edge ships, trains and planes were designed and built. Depending on your satellite or cable channel line-up, you may have The Science Channel and can scroll through the guide looking for what interests you. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to SciGo, where you can stream full episodes. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.

Innovation Nation

Host Mo Rocca explores the stories behind the world’s greatest inventions and showcases present-day change-makers from all over the world who are creating solutions to real needs. The intent is to stimulate curiosity and to inspire audiences with entertaining yet educational stories about yesterday and today’s visionaries. Currently airing on CBS.


It’s Okay To Be Smart

It’s Okay To Be Smart  is a YouTube channel from PBS Digital Studios, founded by Joe Hanson, Ph.D. Videos explore the fun, creative and pure “wow” of science.

Make: Combining Technology with Imagination

Inventors, artists, geeks, musicians and everyday people – these creatively inclined individuals – known as Makers – produce new-fangled marvels by mixing and matching technologies. MAKE: taps into the energy of the Makers movement. Each half-hour episode features stories of creativity and innovation, of Makers and their projects, accompanied by practical how-to guides designed to inspire! Available on Amazon Prime Instant Watch.

Minute Physics

MinutePhysics is a YouTube channel, created by Henry Reich, that explains physics concepts in simple, easy to understand clips in just a few minutes.


Modern Marvels

Focuses on how technologies affect and are used in today’s society. It is among History’s longest-running programs, now in its 19th season. Since its debut, Modern Marvels has produced over 650 one-hour episodes covering various topics involving science, technology, electronics, mechanics, engineering, architecture, industry, mass production, manufacturing, and agriculture. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to History Channel online, where you can stream full episodes. Also available on Netflix DVD.


Fearless hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman take viewers on an eye-opening — and often explosive — journey as they examine some of the most commonly held beliefs in popular science and culture. Available on Netflix DVD.


A documentary series where in each episode provides an in-depth look at a different subject of scientific research. Season 1, 13, 14 available on Amazon Prime Instant Watch.


Outrageous Acts of Science

The internet is an extensive archive of people doing downright amazing things. Outrageous Acts of Science highlights the cream of the crop. Depending on your satellite or cable channel line-up, you may have The Science Channel and can scroll through the guide looking for what interests you. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to SciGo, where you can stream full episodes. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.

Periodic Videos

Periodic Videos is your ultimate channel for all things chemistry. There are videos for each element on the periodic table, science news, interesting molecules and the world of chemistry.


SciShow is a YouTube channel that explores the unexpected. Seven days a week, Hank Green, Michael Aranda, and Olivia Gordon delve into the scientific subjects that defy our expectations and make us even more curious. They also have a sister channel devoted to space, SciShow Space.


Secrets Of The Universe

This groundbreaking new series follows a trail of energy into the power centers of the universe. Each program visualizes these realms based on current scientific data and uses state of the art supercomputer simulations. Dive into the heart of a supermassive black hole, fly down onto the toxic landscapes of alien planets and ride along the roiling surface of a star that’s about to explode! Available on Amazon Prime Instant Watch.

Showdown of the Unbeatables

Hosted by Brian Unger. Flying drones, super lasers and other technological triumphs go head-to-head in contests designed to prove which product has the edge. Available on Netflix Instant Watch.

Sick Science

Sick Science! is a YouTube channel which contains such science experiments by celebrity teacher, science toy designer, speaker, and author Steve Spangler.


The Slow Mo Guys

The Slow Mo Guys is a YouTube Channel created by two guys, Gav and Dan, who love filming the world in slow motion. You can see fascinating clips of an underwater bullet, paint on a speaker, popping popcorn, and exploding watermelons.


Socratica Studios is a YouTube channel that makes beautiful, high-quality educational videos for people of all ages.

gears-dividerStreet Genius

Can you make an explosive with coffee? Can vacuum cleaners lift a car? An engineer puts these and other unconventional questions to the test. Available on Netflix Instant Watch.

Technology of War

Episodes include Ground Forces, Future of War, Sea Power, Air Power, Counter Terrorism. Available on Amazon Prime Instant Watch.


TEDEd has a website devoted entirely to lessons for students of all ages. Each video is roughly 5 minutes long and is packed with information students will find fascinating. After each video, there is a quiz, additional resources, and a guided discussion.


What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Kevin Moore and Grant Reynolds seek out the Internet’s most epic fails, and with their science smarts, recreate them showing what science can do to make them go right. Depending on your satellite or cable channel line-up, you may have The Science Channel and can scroll through the guide looking for what interests you. Your satellite or cable provider may also give you free access to SciGo, where you can stream full episodes. You may be able to find these on YouTube as well.

Wow, I Never Knew That!

A whimsical, half-hour television series that is jam-packed with exciting tidbits and fascinating facts that uncover the truths and origins behind the stuff you’re already familiar with. From the items you use every day to the phrases you use in conversation to the habits you’re so accustomed to, you’ll be fascinated to learn how they’ve all really come about! Available on Amazon Prime Instant Watch.

Xploration Outer Space

Host Emily Calandrelli, Harvard scholar and former Nasa employee, takes viewers on incredible journeys through space. She visits various NASA facilities as we search for answers about our universe. Available on Amazon Prime Instant Watch.



*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

STEM Holidays to Celebrate This Fall

STEM Holidays to Celebrate This Fall

Fall is a time for pumpkins, sweaters, football, and apple cider. But it is also packed full of holidays to thrill the science lovers in your family.

Scroll to the bottom to download this list in a calendar form.

1. National Museum Day: September 24

What a perfect day for a field trip! Here is a massive list of science museums all over the world. Jump right to the section for science museums in the United States, or visit the website of THE greatest science museum on the planet…COSI in Columbus, Ohio.

2. Math Storytelling Day: September 25

Today is the perfect day to put away the math curriculum and have fun with real-world math and living math books. For some ideas,  check out the resources I wrote about in Teaching Middle School Math and Ten Math Books for Under $10.

3. Google’s Birthday: September 27

Google has switched its birthday around over the years, but it is now currently celebrated on the 27th.  2016 will mark the multinational technology company’s 18th birthday.

4. Right Brainers Rule! Month: the month of October

Math is a mostly left-brained function. But some research has shown that right-brain dominant people do better in engineering fields. While it is true that left-brained individual tend to be more logical, right-brained people tend to be more creative. Creativity is a must for a lot of engineering and technology fields.

5. World Day of Architecture: October 3

This event was set up by an International group of architects to remind the world of  the beauty of architecture and importance of architectural firms around the world.

6. Techie’s Day: October 3

The day was created to encourage more students to consider careers in technology. This is also a day to appreciate the techies in your life.


7. World Space Week: October 4-10

World Space Week is officially defined as “an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.”  It is the largest annual space event in the world. Learn more about World Space Week.

8. Earth Science Week: October 9-15

This international event was created to help people gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. Learn more about Earth Science Week.

9. National Metric Week: October 9-15

While the United States is surprisingly only one of countries that does not use the metric system (maybe we like being different?) it is still very important for us to know the metric measurements.

10. National Chemistry Week: October 16-22

This week-long event aims to raise awareness of the importance of chemistry in everyday life. A whopping 10,000 individuals and members of businesses and schools volunteer their time, money and resources. Read more about National Chemistry Week.

11. Geography Awareness Week: November 13-19

This is a week-long celebration of all things geography and the powerful role it plays in our lives. Find more resources at National Geographic.


12. America Recycles Day: November 15

We all know how important recycling is and while the national recycling rate has increased every year for the past 30 years, the current recycling rate is still only 34%. This initiative is to encourage people to reduce waste by recycling. Learn more at Keep America Beautiful.

13. Fibonacci Day: November 23

This day honors Leonardo Fibonacci, an influential mathematician from the Middle Ages. Why November 23? Because when written as 11/23, the numbers form a short Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3).  In a Fibonacci sequence, a number is the sum of the two numbers before it.  In the sequence 1, 1, 2, 3…1+1=2; 1+2=3.

14. Computer Science Education Week: December 4-10

CSEdWeek is a week-long event, organized by Code.org, dedicated to inspiring students to take interest in computer science.  Read more about getting involved.

15. Christmas Bird Count: December 14 – January 5

This 3 week-long event is a winter bird census. Counters participate in a designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day.  You can read more and sign up at Audubon.
Fall Birthdays of Prominent Scientists, Technicians, Engineers, and Mathematicians

  • September 29, 1901 – Enrico Fermi, nuclear physicist
  • October 5, 1882 – Robert Hutchings Goddard, considered the father of the Space Age
  • October 6, 1846 – George Westinghouse, engineer and inventor who developed AC electric power
  • October 21, 1833 – Alfred Nobel, chemist and engineer who established the Nobel Prizes
  • October 28, 1914 – Jonas Salk, physician who developed polio vaccine
  • November 7, 1867 – Marie Curie, chemist and physicist
  • November 8, 1656 – Edmund Halley, astronomer and mathematician
  • November 9, 1934 – Carl Sagan, astronomer
  • November 14, 1765 – Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat
  • November 18, 1923 – Alan Shepard, first American astronaut in space
  • December 8, 1765 – Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin
  • December 15, 1832 – Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower

STEM Holidays to Celebrate This Fall: download a free, one-page calendar

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Organizing a Messy Catch-all Room

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsHome #CollectiveBias

When we built our house, we had the option of placing the washer and dryer in a small room between the kitchen and garage, or placing them in the basement. We opted for the basement. This left us with a small 6-foot squared room to walk through every day coming and going from the garage. We started calling this the Shoe Room, because it is naturally where we left our shoes and coats. Within a few years, it became the Messy Room.

We placed a large unpainted wood shelf in there, but it just ended up cluttered beyond all belief. Shoes, coats, purses, bags, bows and arrows, shooting targets, sporting equipment, light bulbs, pop, bottled water, tools, craft supplies, paint…it all ended up in there. If we weren’t 100% sure we wanted to throw something away yet, it ended up in there.

We are not messy people, but that room was one exception in our lives. So when company came over, that door remained closed and off-limits. I even made these signs…

DIY Pantry Sign

…to place on the pantry door (photo above) and bathroom door (that one says The Loo) so that no one would go looking for either and accidentally end up in the shockingly messy room. Now, thanks to Big Lots, the room is clean, organized, and simply adorable.

It is still our catch-all room, but now everything has its place, and with the cute fabric bins, certain things can be hidden out of sight.

Organizing a Messy Catch-all Room

Now, when company comes over, I plan to leave this door wide open.

The cube organizers are made by Ameriwood System and can be purchased as a 9-cube shelf or 6-cube shelf. The fabric bins are also made by Ameriwood and can be purchased in a dozen different colors and patterns. I opted for a black and white pattern because I thought it really stood out and a blue-green solid color because it paired well with a set of rugs made by Living Colors. All of the rugs were so pretty that it took me forever to decide.

All of these products can be purchased at Big Lots. It was such a relief to be able to find everything I needed in one store! From small scale items like the fabric bins, to large scale items, like the shelves, Big Lots carries an incredible assortment of high quality home decor and organization items that are practical and fashionable.

You will be able to find the cube organizers and fabric bins in a stand-alone case near the furniture and home goods.

Organizing a Messy Catch-all Room with help from Big Lots!

I had to take some muscle with me to Big Lots because the boxes were pretty heavy and there was no way I could have carried them on my own. One of the very nice employees even offered to help my son. I love our local Big Lots. I go there frequently when my son is in Taekwondo class. The employees are always so polite and friendly and I never know what gem I might find while I am passing the time.

I did manage to build them on my own! That is one of the things I love most about these cubbies is that they are super easy to put together.

Organizing a Messy Catch-all Room

My very own bright pink tool kit

Cleaning out this room was a daunting task, but it was well worth it. First and foremost, I made sure that I was in the mindset to do it all in one period of time without stopping. Because clearing that room out meant that my kitchen would be a cluttered mess, I wanted to get it done quickly. I also wanted to surprise my husband when he got home and emerged from the garage into a completely new room.

I didn’t worry much about organizing or throwing anything away at first, I just moved absolutely everything out and roughly placed things in various places around my kitchen according to their theme. Tools in one place, shoes in another, craft supplies over here, sporting goods over there.

I mopped the floor and then the muscle (my 14-year-old son) moved the old wooden shelf out and moved the two new Ameriwood cube organizers in.

Organizing a Messy Catch-all Room

The hardest part was deciding what should stay in the room and what should go. While cleaning up, I even found a jar of over $20 in coins. It was buried in the mess. I placed this prominently on top so it is never forgotten. I am committed to keeping the top cleared off for purses and frequently used bags.

Most of the tools went back out to their rightful place in the garage. So did the paint. Craft supplies were hidden in several of the pretty fabric bins. Another bin holds gloves, hats, and scarves. The bins are so roomy that I was even able to fit 6 pairs of my shoes into one!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my new catch-all room!

What room in YOUR house does everything just end up in?

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Oriental Trading and the High School Student

I am one of the many educators (probably hundreds of thousands) who simply adores Oriental Trading and eagerly takes advantage of their back to school sales for school supplies. I have been a fan of Oriental Trading for many, many, many years and I fondly remember the catalogs coming in the mail when I was a teenager. We ordered and stockpiled supplies for crafts and scrapbooking, I would circle everything I wanted for my birthday or Christmas wishlists, and I planned imaginary parties in my head.

Now that I am older, I still get excited when the Oriental Trading catalog comes in the mail. I think I’ve passed that onto my son as well. He enjoys catalogs just as much as I do. For me, as a mom, catalogs in general are a handy way of getting ideas for Christmas and birthday presents. I carefully keep an eye on what he shows interest in as he flips the pages of whatever catalog he is browsing.

When it comes to the Oriental Trading catalog, he mostly drools over the insane amount of candy they sell. You know how teenage boys are. Everything revolves around food. When we were asked if we wanted to join in the back-to-school promotion of Oriental Trading, of course we said yes and it was my son’s idea to share with you the top 7 items from Oriental Trading that will help a busy high schooler get through the week.

Seven items to make your week easier (as chosen by my teen)


Of course candy and chocolate are high up on the list. A couple of Twizzlers or a mini bag of M&M’s or gummy bears are a perfect pick me up, or a self reward for finishing a task.

You might also be interested in: 10 Tips for Feeding a Teenage Boy


Huge pillows are a must when reading on the couch or working on your laptop. These pillow are 23″ x 18″, soft but firm and come in a variety of colors.

On top of the pillow you can see small globes that double as stress balls for my son. Stress balls are actually proven to help some people focus when reading or studying.


When you are a student who needs a dozen or more books for all of your classes, bookmarks are a must. Bookmarks vanish in my house worse than socks do. It is really sad. I have no idea where they go. There must be a fairy here that steals bookmarks, socks, and screwdrivers.

Oriental Trading sells a set of bookmarks that we love called Cultures of the World. The best part is that there are 48 of them!


This is one that I am adding to the list, simply because maps and globes make me happy.

Disclosure: we received these product free for a back-to-school promotion. 

Oriental Trading Back to School

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

How I Made *That* Doctor Who Background Screen

How to survive college as a high schooler (5 practical tips from my son)

Last week, I wrote a sponsored post on behalf of HP called 5 Tips for Surviving Dual Credit High School, in which I showed off the laptop they sent me. This laptop is now my son’s because it is newer, lighter and faster than his old one.

Lots of you were very impressed by his desktop background.


It is not an app or anything fancy schmancy, it is just an image I made myself. It was very easy to make in Photoshop and only took me a few minutes.

I came up with this idea for my own laptop because I have a very bad habit of throwing anything and everything onto my desktop and only organizing files into proper folders about once a month. There are documents, spreadsheets, images, shortcuts to programs…you name it. So now, at least with my little sections, I can be semi-organized until I decide to clean off my desktop and file things away properly.

Belle and TARDIS Laptop

This image of Belle and the TARDIS was created by the very talented Karen Hallion and she sells prints in her Etsy store

My son is like his father, he doesn’t do this, but he still wanted a background like mine. I used an image from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.

  1. Find the image you want to use.
  2. Crop it to match the resolution of your screen.
  3. Add a few colored boxes around the edges of your image. (I used the rounded rectangle tool.)
  4. Add the text that fits your interests or the things you most frequently save.
  5. Find the setting to personalize your desktop background.


*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.