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STEM does not have to be expensive.

In fact, #STEMontheCheap solutions require more imagination, creativity, innovation, and invention than the shiny, expensive STEM things out there. This page highlights our favorite #STEMontheCheap resources from specific lessons to websites with hundreds of #STEMontheCheap ideas.

cell phone using macro lens hack to magnify five dollar bill

$1 Laser Pointer Macro Lens Hack

Learn how to take apart a $1 keychain laser pointer from Family Dollar and turn it into a macro lens for either a cell phone or tablet. It basically turns your device into a low-powered ...
$1 Solar Garden Light Hack

$1 Solar Garden Light Hack

Hack this $1 Solar Garden Light to get a solar panel, high-intensity LEDs, a rechargeable battery, battery holder, and sometimes a switch ...
Balloon-Powered Car

Balloon-Powered Car

These #STEMontheCheap balloon powered cars are another engineering design challenge that allows for iteration through the engineering design process ...
binary number trick

Binary Number Trick

There are four versions of the binary number trick below. To perform the trick, print out the binary number cards double-sided and cut them out along the dotted lines. Then, have someone think of a ...
drawing of bug twirling a buzz off

Buzz Off, from RAFT

Buzz Off, when whirled around, makes a sound like an insect. A fantastic project for engineering the way it performs by making modifications to the original design ...
Color Addition - Primary and Secondary Colors of Light

Color Addition – Primary and Secondary Colors of Light

Use this worksheet with the RGB Light Show to simply focus on the primary and secondary colors of light. If you are looking for more advanced demonstration of understanding, look at RGB Light Show Worksheet ...
Constellation Boxes

Constellation Boxes

These #STEMontheCheap models can be used to teach perspective and vantage point. Challenge students to model actual constellations ...
Eddy Current Tube Demo

Eddy Current Tube Demo

This classic physics demonstration shows how a magnet falling through a copper pipe will slow down as it transfers some of its energy to move electrons in the conductive copper pipe. Those moving electrons create ...
Flag and Primary Color Afterimage Optical Illusions

Flag and Primary Color Afterimage Optical Illusions

You can either print these out in color or just look at them on a screen to see an afterimage based on how your red, green, and blue color receptors work in your eye. What ...
Fourto

Fourto

Fourto is a hack of the game Quarto. Learn how to make your own pieces for either $2 with dollar store pieces, the cost of copies of the 2D pieces, or use the template to ...
Gobblet: Hack it! Make Cubelet!

Gobblet: Hack it! Make Cubelet!

Based on the concept of Tic-Tac-Toe, Gobblet takes strategy to the next level. This game takes just seconds to learn but a lifetime to master. It develops strategic thinking, problems solving skills and memory. Gobble up, line up ...
Math Magic Card Tricks

Math Magic Card Tricks

There are card tricks which are slight of hand and card tricks which rely on the discrete mathematics inherent to a regular deck of cards. These fall into the latter category. Don't worry, you do ...
Nature of Science Paper Circuit

Nature of Science Paper Circuit

Let your students explore the nature of science and use the science practices when they build this paper circuit and explore the rules that govern which LEDs will light at the same time and which ...
Newspaper Dowel Construction

Newspaper Dowel Construction

Roll newspaper pages into dowels to create all kinds of structures ...
paper circuit example

Notice, Wonder, Learn: Paper Circuits

These templates allow for initial exploration of paper circuits, series and parallel circuits, and circuit diagrams. Supplies are not too expensive and links to necessary supplies are included in the document below (final page). Check ...
Pepper's Pyramid hack atop a cell phone screen

Pepper’s Pyramid Projector

Turn your cell phone or tablet into a 3D hologram-like projector using plastic you would normally recycle. Reuse flat clear plastic to give this old physics trick a high tech twist. Less ecologically friendly, but ...
Physics Ring and Chain Trick

Physics Ring and Chain Trick

NOT MAGIC! Can you master the physics ring and chain trick? Check out this document for directions and info about where to get your own ring and chain - or 100s of them! ...
Quiet Blocks

Quiet Blocks

Use pool noodles to create your own set of quiet blocks. #STEMontheCheap ...

Rattlebot

Turn a $1 electric toothbrush into a self-powered robot ...
RGB Color Light Show Video

RGB Color Light Show Video

Do you know the REAL primary colors? With just a few supplies from your local hardware store, you can recreate this STEMAZing demonstration of the REAL primary colors of light and color addition in your ...
RGB Light Show Worksheet

RGB Light Show Worksheet

Do you know the REAL primary colors of light? Use this worksheet along with red, green, and blue flood lights to demonstrate the REAL primary colors of light and the principle of color addition. Find ...
RGB Primary Color Light Show Paper Circuit

RGB Primary Color Light Show Paper Circuit

Let students build this paper circuit to explore the REAL primary colors, which are NOT blue, yellow, and red! ...
image of person with red blue and green flood lights in front of them

Set Up for RGB Color Light Show Video

Video with tips about how to set up the RGB Light Show if you have your own set of red, green, and blue flood lights. Click on the title here, Set Up RGB Color Light ...
Shalors

Shalors

Shalors (Shapes and Colors) is a $2 hack of the game Qwirkle. Using supplies from online and the dollar store, you can make all 108 pieces of this game for just a couple dollars AND ...
image of skype a scientist

Skype a Scientist

Skype a Scientist matches scientists with classrooms around the world! Scientists will skype into the classroom for 30-60 minute Q and A sessions that can cover the scientist’s expertise or what it’s like to be ...
photo of a journal made with the STEMAZing hack

STEMAZing Journal Hack

Make graph paper STEMAZing journals that require no staples or tape, using an old bookbinding trick ...
Sugar Skull Mask

Sugar Skull Mask

Light it up! Sugar skull template. Great to use with paper circuits ...
Image of pocket microscope

The $1 Pocket Microscope

Explore the microscopic world around you with this $1 3D printed microscope. Looking at insects, plants, and even dirt close up can be fascinating! ...
Theory Cubes - Best Nature of Science Lesson of ALL TIME!

Theory Cubes – Best Nature of Science Lesson of ALL TIME!

Theory cubes is the BEST nature of science lesson of all time. Engage students to use evidence to support their claims and then demonstrate the way science works by not revealing the "right" answer. NOTE: ...
Theory Cubes (Spanish) - Teoria de los Cubos

Theory Cubes (Spanish) – Teoria de los Cubos

Naturaleza de Leccion de Ciencia ...
Tongue Depressor Harmonica

Tongue Depressor Harmonica

Create this #STEMontheCheap harmonica using large craft sticks, rubber bands, and some other inexpensive materials ...