STEM Challenge Yo’Self

STEM challenge banner

Have fun and experiment with STEM Challenge Yo'Self, a webseries packaged for the budding scientist and engineer to practice the scientific method using common household items. SFPL youth librarians share their love for STEM with tips, tricks and other tidbits featuring fun experiments, along with resource lists and easy how-to videos.

Download, print and fill out your STEM C lab sheet while you complete your experiment:

STEM handoutSTEM C Lab Sheet (PDF)

2020 STEM Teen Takeover Schedule

Teens in our Youth Engaged in Library Leadership (YELL) internship program created a whole new series of STEM Challenge Yo'Self videos. Watch below, or on our IGTV and YouTube channels!

Can you break the water surface tension?

Challenge Name
Surface Tension and Combustion Challenge

Materials
1–2 tablespoons of black pepper, 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, 1 small empty bowl

Can you make a ziploc bag explode?

Challenge Name
Exploding Ziploc Bag Challenge

Materials
Several Ziploc bags, baking soda, vinegar, paper towel, measuring cup, water

Can you trap carbon dioxide to inflate a balloon?

Challenge Name
Chemical Reaction Magic Challenge

Materials
1 balloon, baking soda, empty bottle, a funnel

Can you carbonate an orange slice?

Challenge Name
Fizzy Orange Challenge

Materials
Baking soda, orange slices

Can you use the power of observation to predict the outcome?

Challenge Name
Chemical Reaction Challenge

Materials
Plastic bottle, baking soda, vinegar

Can you make color dyes float in liquid?

Challenge Name
Magic Milk Challenge

Materials
Food coloring, whole milk, liquid dish soap or detergent, several cotton swabs, shallow dish

Can you make invisible ink with ingredients from your pantry?

Challenge Name
Invisible Ink Challenge

Materials
Piece of paper, cups, q-tips, baking soda, water, grape juice, tomato juice, lemon juice, milk, yogurt

Can you change the color of a white flower by adding food dye to the water?

Challenge Name
Dyed Flowers Challenge

Materials
Pair of scissors, several white flowers, cup with water, food dye of your choice

Can you make color dyes float in liquid?

Challenge Name
Magic Milk Challenge

Materials
food coloring, whole milk, liquid dish soap or detergent, several cotton swabs, shallow dish

Can you make edible cottage cheese?

Challenge Name
DIY Cottage Cheese Challenge

Materials
1/2 gallon of milk, vinegar, strainer, bowl, 2 pots, something to stir the mixture, tablespoon

Can you make crystals with ingredients from your pantry?

Challenge Name
Halloween Rock Candy Challenge

Materials
6 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, wooden skewers or string, plastic cup or jar and clips

Can you manipulate molecules?

Challenge Name
Cloud in a Jar Challenge

Materials
Glass jar with a lid, 1/3 cup of hot water, 4–5 ice cubes, hairspray, a few drops of dye

Can you make your favorite ice cream without a machine?

Challenge Name
Homemade Ice Cream Challenge

Materials
2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 cup of half-and-half, mild or heavy cream, vanilla extract, salt

Can you create your own gravity defying and independently powered object?

Challenge Name
Balloon Powered Hovercraft Challenge

Materials
Bottle cap, glue gun, CD, balloon, scissors

Can you use force to move money?

Challenge Name
Newton's Dollar Trick Challenge

Materials
Water bottle, coins, dollar bill

Can you use the power of observations to make predictions?

Challenge Name
Density and Buoyancy Challenge

Materials
Grapefruit, large container, 2 eggs, tablespoon, salt, 2 glasses of water

Can you simulate a flock of flying birds or school of fish digitally?

Challenge Name
Creative Coding Challenge

Materials
Computer, basic programming skills

Can you use the power of energy to make an object mobile?

Challenge Name
Rubber Band Powered Car Challenge

Materials
Popsicle sticks, paper clip, rubber band, bottle caps, barbecue sticks, straw, hot glue gun

Can you defy aerodynamics?

Challenge Name
Popsicle Catapult Launcher Challenge

Materials
Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, glue, plastic bottle cap, cotton ball

Can you create a never-ending maze?Challenge Name
Cardboard Maze Challenge

Materials
Cardboard, scissors, duct tape, timer, ball of your choice

Can you defy aerodynamics?

Challenge Name
Pencil Catapult Launcher Challenge

Materials
12 pencils, scissors, rubber bands, small piece of cardboard masking tape

Can you make crystals with ingredients from your pantry?

Challenge Name
DIY Rock Candy Challenge

Materials
Sugar, water, jar, stick, clothespin, spoon, cooking pot, thermometer

STEM Challenge: Can you manipulate molecules?

Challenge Name
States of Matter

Materials
Large jar or vase, hot water, matches, thin tray, ice

STEM Challenge Yo'Self Video Library

 

STEM challenge

Challenge Name
Water Bending Challenge

Materials
jar, cardstock paper, dish soap

STEM challenge

Challenge Name
Pom Pom Launcher

Materials
paper towel tube, balloon (or rubber glove), Pom Poms

STEM challenge

Challenge Name
Dancing Seeds

Materials
jar, plastic wrap, seeds, rubber band

STEM challenge Challenge Name
Sticky Ice Challenge

Materials
bowl, ice, string, salt, water

STEM challengeChallenge Name
Windmill Challenge

Materials
cardboard, scissors, pencil, marker

STEM challengeChallenge Name
Book Dominoes

Materials
lots of books

STEM challengeChallenge Name
Data Challenge

Materials
paper, marker, variety of similar items

STEM challengeChallenge Name
Butter

Materials
heavy cream, jar

STEM challengeChallenge Name
Parachute Design

Materials
plastic bag, string, scissors, pencil, toy

Teen takeover imageChallenge Name
Teen Takeover

Materials
stapler, index card, popsicle stick, 2 pencil top erasers, wide rubber band, string, scissors, straw