Summer STEM Kit Review

This summer, Linn County Education Outreach offered a Summer Ag STEM Kit for families. 47 students received an ag-related packet for the months of June, July, and August. Each packet had a fun theme and included worksheets, coloring pages, crafts/experiments, and other exciting resources. We also linked the resources on our Facebook page for those who didn’t sign up for our STEM kits. We included a ‘passport’ for the three months as well. If a family sends a picture of their child(ren) participating in the STEM kit activities, it can be crossed off on the passport and at the end of the summer, a prize and ‘Ag Brag’ certificate will be given to the kids.

Here is an overview of the packets we offered.

June:

For the month of June, our theme was by-products! All of our activities were centered around different crop and animal byproducts. June’s kit contents included:

  • Experiment materials

  • Corn packing peanuts

  • Styrofoam packing peanuts

  • A byproduct recipe sheet

  • A byproduct riddle

  • A byproduct brochure

  • A soybean byproduct information sheet

  • Soybean/corn byproduct activities

  • An Iowa Ag magazine

  • A pork product newspaper.

  • ‘Know Your Food Facts’ magazine included more information on food and the byproducts that come from these foods.

Our June experiment involved corn packing peanuts and styrofoam packing peanuts. This activity allows kids to discover which of the two styles of packing peanuts were biodegradable. We also included links to a fun online game and an information card that shows how to connect to our Facebook page.

The recipe sheet included easy recipes such as unbreakable bubbles, moon dough, moon plastic, corn dough, and corn paint. These recipes can be made with things typically found in your kitchen and is a super fun activity for the whole family. The magazines held more information on animal and plant byproducts and the importance of using all parts of animals/crops.

The first STEM kit of the summer included tons of important information and fun activities that taught families about the importance of agriculture byproducts and was a great start to our agriculture STEM kits!

July:

July’s STEM kit’s theme was water and soil conservation. This kit included activities that demonstrated the importance of water/soil conservation. July’s STEM contents included:

  • Experiment materials

  • Pipe cleaners, beads (representing plant nutrients)

  • PH strips (to test water samples)

  • Life Bracelet lesson

  • Watersheds and water quality

  • Water testing activity

  • Water samples: color, odor, and PH as well as predictions

  • Sample coloring sheet

  • Watershed map

  • Plain watershed activity sheet and instructions

  • ‘Rock Your Watershed’ game link

  • Iowa Ag Today: Natural Resources

The life bracelet activity includes materials that mimic plant nutrients and instructions that explain more information regarding plant nutrients. The magazines and informational sheets allow more in-depth details regarding Iowa watersheds and natural resources for the whole family to enjoy.

July’s STEM kit included Iowa agriculture information and activities for kids of all ages to participate in and learn from.

August:

Our final summer STEM kit’s theme was agriculture fun. The August kit included activities exploring general agriculture knowledge. August’s STEM kit’s contents included:

  • Experiment materials

  • Soybean Drum Kit

  • Feed ration snack recipe

  • Pictionary (soybean byproducts)

  • Find It sheet (soybean)

  • Coloring sheets

  • ‘I have’ ‘Who Has’ game

  • Ag Mag ‘Snacks’

  • ‘My American Farm’ game link

  • STEM Kit Survey

The soybean experiment incorporated materials and instructions for kids to create a ‘drum’ using soybeans. The feed ration recipe creates a trail mix that mimics pig feed rations. The Pictionary and Find It activity sheet takes us back to June’s theme with soybean byproducts. The Ag Mag ‘Snacks’ edition included more information on food byproducts, where our snacks come from, and how it’s related to agriculture.

This STEM kit program was a great way for children and families to learn more about agriculture in a fun way. We will be sending out the ‘Ag Brag’ certificates and prizes shortly. Thank you to everyone involved and please don’t forget to fill out the STEM kit survey found in August’s packet.

For those who didn’t sign up for our STEM kit, links are still available on our Facebook page! We have other fun videos regarding the STEM kit’s information and experiments. Our website also holds information regarding this year’s lesson plans and other fun information.

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