15-Minute STEM

Quick, creative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics activities for 5–11-year-olds

By: Emily Hunt


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 297 x 210
Pages : 64
ISBN : 9781785833359
Format: Paperback
Published: September 2018

Emily Hunt’s 15-Minute STEM: Quick, creative science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities for 5–11-year-olds offers an exciting collection of 40 tried-and-tested, easy-to-resource STEM activities designed to engage and inspire young learners.

From caring for our environment to the digital revolution, the demand for STEM skills is huge and is only set to grow. STEM is therefore an important priority area in modern education, leaving many teachers and parents asking questions such as ‘How do I fit STEM education into my day?’ and ‘What kind of activities should I be exploring?’

Enter 15-Minute STEM with the answers …

This innovative resource has been designed to reassure teachers and parents that they don’t need to be experts to deliver high-quality STEM education. Each of the 40 activities includes step-by-step instructions, takes just 15 minutes to complete and can be resourced from everyday materials found in the classroom or at home. This means that, with minimal preparation, teachers can slot these cross-curricular activities into an otherwise busy day, broadening their pupils’ learning at no cost to their focus on core curriculum areas.

The activities make connections to real-world scenarios, helping children to understand how their learning is relevant to their future, and have been linked to conceptually similar STEM-related careers – all of which are individually profiled in a glossary at the back of the book. The practical, problem-solving element of each activity offers a great way for children to develop important soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking and spatial awareness.

Accompanying instructions are framed and phrased in a way that encourages the children to lead the learning and exploration – allowing the supervising adult to take a more hands-off, facilitative approach – and opportunities for further investigation are provided in order to broaden the learning focus and extend the tasks beyond 15 minutes. Hand-drawn illustrations and full colour photographs are also included alongside each activity to give an idea of what the end results might look like.

Suitable for both teachers and parents.

Activities include:

  • Arctic Engineering: Why are igloos built in a dome shape?
  • Fireworks in a Jar: What happens when we mix fluids of different densities?
  • Marble Run Mayhem: What happens to a marble as it moves through a marble run?
  • Rainbow Walking Water: How does water get from the roots of plants to the leaves?
  • Spoon Sound Waves: How can we change the pitch of sound?

Left-handed pupils: five quick-win support tips

STEM: Building early foundations

Click here to view 15-Minute STEM featured in Love Reading 4 Schools books of the month.

Picture for author Emily Hunt

Emily Hunt

Emily Hunt is an experienced primary school teacher with a passion for promoting STEM education. She regularly writes articles and speaks about STEM, and shares activities and blogs on her website www.howtostem.co.uk. Emily holds a Masters of Education from the University of Cambridge and has also worked within the US education system to deliver science outreach.

Click here to read Emily's article on TES.

Left-handed pupils: five quick-win support tips

STEM: Building early foundations

Click here to read Emily Hunt’s blog.


  1. This is a super book for primary teachers. It aims to help teachers inspire and motivate primary aged pupils in the area of STEM education. Children will love the forty activities which can, as the title suggests, be completed in fifteen minutes but which might be developed and expanded and could be used for homework, after school clubs or parent workshops. If you're looking for engaging ways to make mathematics meaningful in the world, and we all should be, this book is a very useful starting point.

    This book doesn't pretend to provide a considered rationale for STEM education or what we might call Primary STEM education. This is an area crying out for greater articulation, for example what is meant by engineering in this primary context? And how exactly does mathematics contribute and benefit, for example, in EYFS? And in Year 6?

    However, the idea of fifteen-minute STEM activities is a good one in the respect that it is achievable and might encourage teachers and pupils to engage in a variety of STEM tasks. While these cannot replace a well-organised curriculum of STEM subjects, the activities do provide very useful stimulation and starting points for further problem solving and investigation.
  2. “I was impressed that this book has forty activities in it. At first glance the book is rather unassuming. It's thin and only has 60 pages. Once I opened the book, I knew immediately that this was going to be my “go to” book for many great activities to do with my “work kids.”

    Many of the STEM activities that I have pinned on Pinterest or bookmarked on my computer require a lot of materials to accomplish. Our organization does have a budget it needs to stick to, and I honestly don't have the time to drive all over town looking for the materials to complete an activity. I was super pleased to see that the activities in this book don't require a lot of fancy materials, and many of the items needed we already have, I have at home, or I can easily get locally.

    Take for example the Tinfoil Cargo Boats activity. It requires tinfoil, coins, water, a bowl or sink and a scale (optional). Who doesn't already have these things around their home?

    In the Water Color Carnival activity you need large clear bowls, beakers, a spoon, food coloring, water and a mirror (optional). The beakers might not be as readily available, but I'm sure you can substitute them with measuring cups or something similar.

    If you don't have the items needed for each activity, I”m sure you can find almost all of what you need at your local dollar store.

    Each activity includes the necessary equipment (as explained above), easy to follow step-by-step instructions, what exactly the activity is going to accomplish (this information is found in the “Investigate” box) and an brief explanation for WHY things happen in the activity.

    I am a firm believer that children learn better when learning is fun. With these activities, children are definitely learning, even if it doesn't look that way. Not only that, these activities are fun and would work just as well as a “rainy day” activity for children, without any emphasis on the “why” and “how” of the activity. They don't have to be done to learn something. They can be done just for the fun of it.

    As far as the 15 minutes aspect is concerned, yes, these activities don't take that long to set up and implement. I guess it all depends on the children you are working with. Younger children might take a wee bit longer than older children.

    I have “dog earred” several pages in this book of activities I want to do with my “work kids.” I am finishing up taking inventory of what we have at school and what I need to pick up from the dollar store (or take in from home). I've been a bit busy lately, and we're currently on winter break, so I haven't had the chance to try any of activities - yet. Even if I did, it's not easy to take photos at school. I don't want to get any of the children in the photos for safety reasons (plus they are not my children, so I am not allowed to distribute their images).

    Whether you are a parent, educator, scout leader or even a babysitter, there are plenty of fun activities in this book that make it worth checking it out for yourself.”

    Click here to read the review on Kimberly's blog.
  3. -‹“Emily Hunt's -˜15-Minute STEM-˜ book contains 40 quick, easy-to-resource activites, for 5-11 year old's. -˜15-Minute STEM-˜ reassures teachers and parents that they don't need to be experts to deliver high-quality STEM education.

    15 minute STEM is full of engaging practical ideas that are quick to do and inspire longer-term engagement. 15 Minute STEM offers activities that will encourage children to question be creative while learning. Each activity will tell you “What you need”, explain “How to do it”, opportunity to further “Investigate”, and then give an explanation regarding, “What we learned..

    15 Minute STEM will get children of all abilities to get hands on with STEM, both in school and at home. You don't have to be an expert to deliver a STEM education.

    Today, Governments, industries and scientific bodies around the world are increasingly prioritizing investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) knowledge and skills because these are regarded as key, to future employment and economic growth.

    Emily Hunt is an experienced primary school teacher whose role as a science subject leader at a school In Bristol. You can check out her popular website and blog - www.howtostem.co.uk - She also worked withing the US education system to deliver science outreach, holds a Master of Education from the University of Cambridge.”

    Click here to read the review on their website.
  4. Perfect for parents (including home educators) and teachers, this practical and inspiring book is subtitled: Quick, creative science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities for 5-11 year-olds. STEM activities are high profile and the 40 activities cover a wide range of areas inclduing engineering, chemistry, sound, environment and growth. All the activities are explained in clear steps as well as explanatory text on the learning covered. The layout is clear and attractive. Of particular note are the links to STEM jobs which feature obn every page. There are also extension ideas as well as blank pages to use to create a lasting record. This is a well thought out book, easy to use and practical in application, with enjoyable activities that are well focussed. In today's busy lives, activities that fit into short timescales are highly practical, and these slot well into lessons or busy home lives, making them practical and accessible. An excellent book.

    Read the review on Parents in Touch website here.
  5. 15 Minute STEM is an excellent resource providing 40 different engaging and interactive activities to get 5-11 year olds engaged about STEM (Science, Technology. Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. The activities are well planned and not expensive to do (important as schools struggle on ever decreasing budgets). It also allows the children to question and answer questions enhancing critical thinking and problem solving skills in a creative proactive way which is so important for future contributions to society and employers.
    I am passionate about embedding the arts, film and visual into the STEM subjects so that connections across different subject areas can be made as well as enabling contextualisation and relevance in the learning of STEM.
    I highly recommend this book as a superb way to get children proactive in learning of STEM subjects as well as providing a fun interactive way of problem solving and making connections.
  6. STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are important to all aspects of our lives, from construction to space exploration, from the digital world to caring for the natural one. Here are 40 quick, easy to access STEM activities that can be done just as easily at home as at school; you don't need to be an expert to carry them out, and yes, they really do take just 15 minutes. They are all hands on and will encourage curiosity, for example, experimenting with soap bubbles explains tensile structure, Newton's third law of motion is demonstrated using a balloon and some bits of cardboard, while you can find out about kinetic energy while making a catapult. Practical, fun and instructive.
  7. 15-Minute STEM is an inspiration. Its 40 hands-on activities are well-structured and, more importantly, intriguing. They are designed to capture the imagination, and succeed in doing so - my particular favourites are the Catapult Challenge and Rocket Racers (although this may simply reflect my desire to send things hurtling across a random space). The -˜What are we learning?' sections in each activity also allow teachers to make connections to the curriculum, and enable the learners to understand the ideas behind the activities.

    The book itself has a serious purpose, too - which is to engage and educate children in STEM education. This intention is clearly articulated in the introduction, which serves as a guide to effective practice in STEM. Here the exhortation to start with a question, expose the children to the resources and allow them to lead the exploration mirrors current thinking on the importance of engaging children in learning with a real purpose, and trusting them to lead elements of their own work.

    The STEM jobs glossary illuminates another key purpose of the book - introducing children to the huge range of potential routes that are open to those interested in solving problems and tackling challenges. Certainly, inspiring an initial interest in STEM in primary school may be one of the key ways by which we can ensure that we have people interested in such work in the future.
  8. PROS:

    - Each activity is easily accessible to teachers and practitioners, creating fun-filled challenges to help develop skills.
    - Guidance and resources provided within the book, making the planning process simple for teachers.
    - Activities cover all ranges of abilities and ages within the primary school.
    - A focus on “What we are learning?” with every activity.
    - Includes links to different professions, linking the activities with real-life relevance, helping aspirations.

    Click here to read the review on UKEdChat's website.
  9. Science can be found absolutely everywhere we look and is in everything we do. Thanks to this, we can recreate scientific phenomenons using every day objects to see it in action. But where do you even start with setting up an experiment?!

    In comes '15 minute STEM', a brand new science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activity book. This is packed full of quick and easy experiments, giving you the inspiration you may be lacking. As they all take about 15 minutes each, you can easily fit them into your day, and you should already have most of the equipment needed!

    The book itself has 40 different experiments which are easy to understand and set up. Each experiment comes with a list of things you'll need, instructions (including an 'investigate' section, which gives an option to alter the experiment and compare with the original) and a fantastic, short explanation of the science behind the activity! They also have the great idea to give job titles which involve similar types of science to the activity, to highlight areas of interest. This is linked up to a glossary at the back where you can find out about all the different jobs available in STEM.

    I really can't recommend this book enough and although it is aimed at teachers, it is a fantastic book for students, families and anyone else interested in STEM too! The activities may be short, but they have huge scope to them and inspire a lot of curiosity surrounding them. Our favourite experiment is the 'Magic Milk', check out our Instagram (@wonkscience) to see the video of us trying it out!

    Click here to read the review on Wonk Magazine's website.
  10. 15-Minute STEM is a fantastic handbook for anyone looking to cram STEM activities into a busy timetable. Each activity is presented using child-friendly language, along with pictures and easy-to-follow instructions, and is set out in such a way that children will be able to pick up the aim of the task quickly.

    The book features dozens of STEM ideas I have never come across before, and I can instantly see how they would be applicable in any classroom - either as stand-alone nuggets or as part of existing schemes of work.


  11. I love this book! 15-Minute STEM is crammed full of engaging practical ideas that are quick to do yet also inspire longer-term engagement. It's equally suitable for teachers and parents - definitely one of the best resources I have read in a long while.
  12. 15-Minute STEM is full of activities that can be used to enhance current learning and provide hooks to get children thinking about new concepts. The tasks excite both adults and children alike, and naturally lead learners to explore and discuss ideas at their own pace. A real treasure trove of creative learning opportunities that you can dip into time and time again.
  13. Complete with easy-to-use instructions, 15-Minute STEM offers an impressive collection of imaginative, interactive activities which encourage children to question, deduce and hypothesise as they learn.

    The book's format is simple to follow, with photos provided to illustrate a range of engaging tasks, and each activity is introduced with a question that stimulates children's interest and curiosity in STEM.

     Our pupils absolutely love it!
  14. 15-Minute STEM is a fantastic resource to get children of all abilities hands on with STEM, both in school and at home. The activities are easy to comprehend, are effective in quickly conveying complex concepts and can be done with accessible materials. I especially like how the learning helps develop a growth mindset and relates to real-life jobs - and I believe that this can inspire the scientists of the future.
  15. 15-Minute STEM is brilliant! It is packed full of fun and exciting science- and engineering-based activities that will engage and inspire children, helping them to develop enquiring minds through practical application. With its clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions, the book is great for parents to use with children at home - as well as for teachers who want to introduce more practical activities in the classroom. Fantastic!

  16. 15-Minute STEM is brilliant! It is packed full of fun and exciting science- and engineering-based activities that will engage and inspire children, helping them to develop enquiring minds through practical application. With its clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions, the book is great for parents to use with children at home - as well as for teachers who want to introduce more practical activities in the classroom. Fantastic!

  17. 15-Minute STEM is brilliant! It is packed full of fun and exciting science- and engineering-based activities that will engage and inspire children, helping them to develop enquiring minds through practical application. With its clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions, the book is great for parents to use with children at home - as well as for teachers who want to introduce more practical activities in the classroom. Fantastic!


  18. 15-Minute STEM is an inviting, teacher-friendly resource packed full of tried-and-tested activities to help develop children's STEM skills, and is well suited to the teacher who is less experienced in teaching STEM subjects.

    Each activity is explained clearly and concisely, and the eye-catching icons tagged on to the activities make it easy to prepare the ideal learning environment for each task. The links to the variety of related jobs also provide children with a useful introduction to possible STEM careers.

    A great resource for teachers who are taking their first steps in creating a STEM-rich classroom.

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