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Summer STEM Guide

Welcome to the Summer edition of our seasonal STEM guides! It contains:

  • STEM related summer events and themed days/weeks
  • Quick, easy website and activity suggestions for how to get involved (click on the pictures to find out more)
  • Summery STEM resource recommendations

Diaries at the ready! The events listed below are a really good way to help theme your STEM activities and help children to make real-world links. We anticipate lots of outdoor, nature-themed STEM activities over the next few months while the weather is mild and the natural world is alive with colour and activity.

30 Days Wild (throughout June)

This annual nature challenge is organised by the Wildlife Trust. They want you to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

How to get involved…

National Dinosaur Day (1st June)

National Dinosaur Day takes place on both the 15th May and the 1st June. It’s a great one for any budding young palaeontologists! Celebrate all things dinosaur by finding out some cool dinosaur facts and taking part in some dinosaur activities.

How to get involved…

World Environment Day (5th June)

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June every year, and is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Learn how all living things on Earth are connected in the web of life and how we can act for nature.

How to get involved…

World Oceans Day (8th June)

On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet celebrate and honour the ocean, which connects us all. By working together, we can — and will — protect and restore our shared ocean. Join this growing global celebration on 8 June with continuing engagement year-round! To view the education resources on the World Oceans Day website click here.

How to get involved…

Women in Engineering Day (23rd June)

The 23rd of June celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world. It is is an international awareness campaign which raises the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.

How to get involved…

The Big Butterfly Count (17th July – 9th August)

The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. Over 113,500 people took part in 2019, submitting 116,009 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK.

How to get involved…

National Marine Week (25th July – 9th August)

This event is the Wildlife Trusts’ celebration of all things marine. Despite the name, it lasts 15 fun-filled days to allow for the variation in tide times around the country. During this time, Wildlife Trusts all around the UK put on a jam-packed programme of events and activities.

How to get involved…

Summer STEM Resource Recommendations

Here are a few of our ‘must have’ summer STEM resources. We think you’ll come back to them year after year with your children! Click on each picture to view it on Amazon.

Have we missed off a summer STEM event or a ‘must have’ summer STEM resource? If so then add it to the comments below. (note: this is a UK based website so some events have a UK focus).

6 summery STEM books

Summer is truly upon us now and what better way to mark the season than with some summery STEM books! We’ve focused on texts that celebrate nature and have suggested activities linked to each book that will get children outside, exploring their surroundings. Enjoy!

6. Shaping up For Summer

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Maths in Nature is a lovely four book series, which explores seasonal and natural beauty through maths concepts, which are made engaging with energetic and colourful paper collage illustrations, poetic language and thoughtful questions. Each book also includes nature notes at the end, which give more information about the animals and plants featured in the seasonal scenes. Colourful, cut- paper collage art uniquely evokes the natural world, while two levels of text – one a lyrical story, the other asking children to problem-solve – bring the reader to a full understanding of the maths concept being covered. The engaging “What if?” format of these informational picture books is sure to delight five- to seven-year-olds.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: This book is all about spotting the mathematics in nature so where better to start than by heading outside and looking for natural shapes. Provide each child with a table depicting each shape along the top and encourage them to draw or write down their findings for each shape.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

5. It Starts With A Seed

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: In gentle rhyme, It Starts with a Seed evocatively explores the growth of a tiny sycamore seed. Taking a journey through the seasons and years, we follow the seed as it transforms from a seedling to a sapling, then a young tree, until it becomes a large tree with its branches and roots filling the page. As the tree grows, it is joined by well-loved woodland creatures – squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and owls – who make it their home. Beautiful and evocative, It Starts with a Seed is a factual story that will touch children with its simple but enchanting message of life and growth. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: Today we find the seed as a fully grown sycamore tree. Go outside and see what trees you can find in the school grounds. Then make your own paper spinning seed from a strip of paper! Check out our 15min STEM section to find out how.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

4. A Nest is Noisy

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: Start by discussing what animals build nests. Children may be surprised to know that it’s not just birds. For example, alligators and orangutans build nests too! Then go on a sound walk around your local area, recording the different noises that can be heard and looking for evidence of nests. Finally, create your own nests or bird boxes, gathering up natural materials to place inside them.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

3. Swirl By Swirl: Spirals in Nature

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again – in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear? With simplicity and grace, Krommes and Sidman not only reveal the many spirals in nature – from fiddleheads to elephant tusks, from crashing waves to spiralling galaxies – but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: Create your own spirals outside using natural materials such as sticks and sand. Then think about what animals have spirals or are able to curl their bodies into spirals. Explore the outside area to see how many of these creatures spirals you can find.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

2. Wild Fibonacci

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. . . Look carefully. Do you see the pattern? Each number above is the sum of the two numbers before it. Though most of us are unfamiliar with it, this numerical series, called the Fibonacci sequence, is part of a code that can be found everywhere in nature. Count the petals on a flower or the peas in a peapod. The numbers are all part of the Fibonacci sequence. In Wild Fibonacci, readers will discover this mysterious code in a special shape called an equiangular spiral. Why so special? It mysteriously appears in the natural world: a sundial shell curves to fit the spiral. So does a parrot’s beak. . . a hawk’s talon. . . a ram’s horn. . . even our own human teeth!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: This book works well with older children who will be able to understand the pattern behind the fibonacci sequence. Once they have got this, encourage them to go outside and take pictures of natural objects that follow the fibonacci sequence such as flower petals and fir cones. Children could take this further, researching examples of this sequence in humans and animals.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

1. Bees, Snails and Peacock Tails

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Come explore the hidden shapes and patterns in nature. The peacock’s flashy tail is a masterpiece of colour and shape. A buzzing beehive is built of tiny hexagons. Even a snake’s skin is patterned with diamonds. Poet Betsy Franco and Caldecott Honour winner Steve Jenkins bring geometry to life in this lively, lyrical look at the shapes and patterns that can be found in the most unexpected places.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: This book is a great introduction to shapes and symmetry in nature. Younger children will have fun spotting examples of this in their natural surroundings. Meanwhile older children may be able to make links between the amazing patterns in nature and the fibonacci code.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

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