As a troop leader, it can be tough to combine all of the different things your scouts are interested in learning and incorporate aspects of the disciplines your scouts are less excited about. A great way to handle this divide is to combine art and STEM to use activities that involve multiple types of learning in one activity.
Today I wanted to share a few innovative activities that will combine art and STEM to excite both your artistic and STEM-oriented troop members that could work for any level. They serve as an amazing reminder that when we combine our skills and abilities, the world is a better place.
Did you know your scouts can create 3D designs out of sugar on cookies? Look no further, Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast has a free tutorial on their website on how to create these amazing treats.
Yes, it’s really true! The designs you can make with this craft will be enhanced by using 3D glasses to combine art and STEM. Yet the activity helps your troop with geometry, symmetry, and dimensions with a heavy art element. I would highly recommend this activity to show your art-minded girls that art isn’t an enemy to STEM, it can work alongside it. Besides, any STEM projects that end in cookies are a win in my book.
What’s better than completing a fun activity with your troop? Having a toy to take home at the end! You can teach your girls how to make homemade bouncy balls with ingredients you likely already have. This craft works best with scouts in elementary school.
All it takes is corn starch, Elmer’s glue, food coloring, water, borax, and a few other materials to create these homemade toys. And the best part is, you can make them pretty colors! If your troop decides to make a lot of different bouncy balls, you can bring in their artistic side by experimenting with color. It can be so fun to mix up the colors and see how each ball comes out in the end! My troop also experimented with creating multicolored balls, which is a really neat option for older scouts.
You can access the step-by-step instructions right here for plenty of bouncy fun.
3D candy DNA models
Contrary to what your artistically-minded scouts might think, visual arts aren’t limited to human subjects. A fun way to do STEM learning while creating art is to create 3D models of scientific concepts– bonus points if it’s made out of edible materials!
One example perfect for older kids is this 3D DNA model made out of candy! This isn’t the only option available, you could do some other experiments like edible baking soda volcanoes or edible cell diagrams.
Or, if you’re nervous about allergies or other factors, you don’t even need to do edible versions of this STEM activity. There are many different ways to practice arts integration while girl scouting. Bust out your art supplies and just create models together! Let your girls show off their skills in visual art to one another, and then eat them together. The point is, finding ways to artistically represent things they’re learning about can be a great way to integrate art with STEM education.
Color changing milk
Okay, I hate to be biased, but this is my personal favorite craft. Not only are the colors absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but the craft is also so much fun and requires very little supplies. All you need is milk in a bowl, food coloring, some dish soap, and a q-tip. I got my instructions here, but there are plenty of variations on this craft.
I recommend this activity if you have scouts who are interested in how color interacts and are old enough to understand hydrophobic and hydrophilic micelles. (If you want to be able to explain these concepts to students in middle school or high school, the full explanation is below the craft instructions on the site from STEM professionals for science teachers.) Let them use their critical thinking to make some hypotheses by using the scientific method in small teams, then you can explain the chemical reaction to them
Colorful rock candy
This is another science experiment that seems too good to be true! As I said, I’m a sucker for edible STEM art projects, and kids are too. With this craft, the main thing to look out for is how seriously you want to take your candy creation.
If you don’t add special flavors, you can add fun colors, but it’ll still just taste like plain sugar, which can be a little disappointing. If you want to jazz it up in some creative ways, you can get special flavorings and colors to match, and there are instructions on this website about how to get the flavors just right. This will also help girls at a higher grade level with their math skills while integrating arts education
Colorful flowers with food dye
This is one you’re not going to need instructions for. In fact, you’ve probably already done it before! You can get some white flowers (carnations are my personal favorite for this craft) and stick them in vases of water that have different food colorings in them.
If you’re doing this craft with young students, you can teach them about mixing colors and the color wheel while performing this fun experiment, and ask them why each carnation is a different color. Plus, your students will have beautiful colored carnations to bring home.
At the end of the day, art and science are for everyone, and these fun and easy STEM activities will help your girls be more excited about both. If you’d like to show off the results of your troop’s experiments, send me some pictures for a chance to get featured. Happy experimenting!
Stem Activity Workshops