TOP PICKS | 45 TOOLS

STEAM Games, Apps, and Sites

When their forces combine, science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) are a super group of essential subjects that lead to long-lasting learning. Using an interdisciplinary STEAM approach in the classroom increases critical thinking, broadens perspectives, and reduces overall misconceptions. And it's this constructivist type of learning that builds a culture of students willing to tinker and remix with confidence. Mix and match these picks to help students cultivate design sense and inventiveness, gain transferable skills, and make cool, useful stuff. 

Interdisciplinary Lessons & Activities

Kide Science

Storytelling plus creative lesson plans make STEAM concepts come alive

Bottom Line: This wonderful collection offers lots of neat offline activities that'll delight students and shape their thinking skills.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free, Paid

NOVA

Compelling science videos have high-quality classroom applications

Bottom Line: Unparalleled science documentaries offer a window into real-world scientific topics in a high-interest way.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Defined Learning

Stellar collection of STEM resources supports project-based learning

Bottom Line: Excellent, well-thought-out resources for developing problem-solving skills in the classroom.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

OK Go Sandbox

Creative music video-inspired STEAM design challenges

Bottom Line: After watching OK Go music videos, kids will be excited to make new creations by integrating art, science, and math.

Grades: 1–12
Price:
Free

KidsThinkDesign

Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun

Bottom Line: A go-to site for teachers looking for well-presented project ideas; kids will need opportunities to share work locally.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

Tuva Labs

Dynamic data-exploration tool offers large collection of data sets

Bottom Line: Partner with another teacher (preferably a data whiz) and work together to develop cross-curricular activities.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Choreo Graph

Animate with fun geometry STEAM app; learning requires teacher support

Bottom Line: Teachers and classroom communities are needed for app activities to meet their learning potential; start with the coordinating lessons.

Grades: 6–10
Price:
Free

STEM on Station

Lots of info about the space station, but tricky site organization

Bottom Line: This is a great NASA resource for kids to learn about the International Space Station, as long as they're patient with the cluttered site layout.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Couragion

Individualized STEM career exploration targets students' values

Bottom Line: Students identify career values and use them to evaluate STEM options.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

Engineering, Design, & Making

3DBear AR

3D design and augmented reality merge in creative, interactive app

Bottom Line: A great fit for classroom or makerspace settings as long as students have clear direction and compatible devices.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free, Free to try, Paid

Hello Ruby

Crafty, mostly screen-free approach to computer science

Bottom Line: These creative, beautifully made craft- and interest-based projects have the potential to bring students -- particularly girls -- into the world of coding and computers.

Grades: 2–5
Price:
Free

Gizmos & Gadgets

Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use, versatile electronic invention set that works wirelessly with your hand-held device.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Free, Paid

3D Slash

Minecraft-like 3D modeling (and printing) made super easy for all ages

Bottom Line: This may be the fastest, cheapest route from idea to 3D printing out there, if you don't mind low-res, pixelated designs.

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free, Paid

SAM Labs

Kids use block code and wireless blocks to program, design, and create

Bottom Line: With some perseverance, it's a great fit for PBL and STEAM, helping students learn programming skills and engineering concepts through invention.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Free, Paid

Design Squad Global

Fun engineering problems encourage classroom competition, innovation

Bottom Line: Design Squad Global makes learning STEAM concepts fun through hands-on activities and easy-to-understand scientific explanations.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free

DIY

Design, build, and share new things offline and online

Bottom Line: DIY motivates kids to tackle a wide range of problems with independent and scientific thinking.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free to try

Kano

Apps, instruction, and hardware encourage creativity and STEAM skills

Bottom Line: This thoughtful, kid-centered computing platform gets kids coding and creating.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free to try

Teachable Machine

Creative intro to machine learning and AI doesn't require code

Bottom Line: For students with some creativity and tech skills, this can offer a new spin on more traditional computer science tools.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

Tinkercad

Amazingly simple yet powerful online CAD tool turns kids into makers

Bottom Line: Full-featured site and app make iterative 3D design accessible, social, and relevant.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

Autodesk Design Academy

Outstanding project-based tutorials for popular engineering software

Bottom Line: The projects found here are a great way to teach and learn digital design; all are truly fantastic (and free!), with everything you need ready to go.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Instructables

Endless collection of DIY projects; good for sharing and inspiration

Bottom Line: User-generated projects inspire sharing and learning, though more refined navigation would make it easier to sift through all the great ideas.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

SketchUp

Make learning meaningful through 3D design

Bottom Line: SketchUp is a fantastic, subject-agnostic tool that does take time to learn but helps students gain truly useful, transferable skills.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

WhiteBox Learning

Design, analyze, and then build STEM applications

Bottom Line: Complete learning modules include simple CAD design simulation tools, a digital competition, and options for hands-on building.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Make:Online

Fuel creative makers with project ideas, reviews, and community

Bottom Line: Excellent DIY resource that empowers kids to learn by making and experimenting.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Robotics & Coding

Blue-Bot

Simple robot ideal for introducing programming to young learners

Bottom Line: Students will develop logical and sequential thinking with Blue-Bot, creating a foundation for future coding activities.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free, Paid

Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots

Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills

Bottom Line: You can program robots with code blocks, with plenty of creative options and lots of fun.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free, Paid

The Robot Factory by Tinybop

Improve designs, collect favorites in robot creation sandbox

Bottom Line: A well-made and enjoyable STEM app that leverages what's great about play -- experimentation -- to spark engineering interest.

Grades: K–8
Price:
Paid

Scratch

Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Bottom Line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free

Evo by Ozobot

Versatile mini robot tailor-made for teaching coding

Bottom Line: Evo encourages students to be creative, emphasizing that coding is a tool in your pocket, not the end game.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Free, Paid

Sphero Edu

Cool robots and creative play make programming irresistible

Bottom Line: Hub for Sphero robots draws crafty kids who love making into coding, and it empowers them to be collaborators.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free, Paid

Kai's Clan

Innovative STEAM package takes robot coding to the next level

Bottom Line: A nearly perfect spin on STEAM coding that combines a bunch of technologies into one, and effectively fuses the real and virtual worlds.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

Microsoft MakeCode

Bring code to life with circuits, robots, Minecraft, and more

Bottom Line: Once you purchase the hardware, MakeCode opens doors to an incredible diversity of coding applications.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

Google CS First

Middle school CS curriculum has stellar resources, room for creativity

Bottom Line: A high-quality introductory CS curriculum where students can be creative, collaborate with others, and express themselves, in the classroom or at home.

Grades: 4–8
Price:
Free

Machine Learning for Kids

Authentic AI-powered projects make kids' creations feel like magic

Bottom Line: It takes a topic that would be difficult to teach in any practical way and makes it accessible for the classroom.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Game-Based Learning

Toca Builders

Students not quite ready for Minecraft get a creative, fun alternative

Bottom Line: Fun, engaging, open-ended play can work in a variety of content areas.

Grades: K–4
Price:
Paid

Minecraft: Education Edition

Stellar collaboration tools, controls make Minecraft classroom-ready

Bottom Line: An excellent tool to engage students in learning, collaboration, and critical thinking is now more accessible than ever to teachers.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free to try

Minecraft

Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep

Bottom Line: An irresistible and seemingly limitless incubator for 21st-century skills that, with a little guidance, can chart new courses for learning.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

Gamestar Mechanic

Engaging manga-themed quest to become a game designer

Bottom Line: Game design quests have everything students want but perhaps not everything teachers need.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free to try

LearnToMod

Modify Minecraft with this fun, applied use of coding

Bottom Line: For students who already know and love Minecraft, this is a valuable way to hook students into coding.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Paid

Mars Horizon

Authentic space agency sim focuses on logistics, planning

Bottom Line: This sim is backed by major space agencies, so it's a neat and trustworthy way to learn about the challenges of past and future space exploration.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

micro:bit

Code games or fun displays with mini piece of hardware

Bottom Line: This versatile tool for learning how to program with blocks or text is a nice fit for STEM classes and clubs.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Portal 2 Puzzle Maker

Mind-bending level editor for beloved physics game

Bottom Line: For STEAM educators with the right tech and know-how, it'd be puzzling not to use this tool.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

Garry's Mod

Complex physics sandbox is daunting but rich

Bottom Line: This physics sandbox ramps up the complexity but not the usability, leaving it up to the right teachers and students to unlock its benefits.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Paid

Roblox

Popular game development platform has classroom potential, pitfalls

Bottom Line: Creating games for an authentic audience encourages coding and design skills, but real risks require extra caution.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Kerbal Space Program

Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim

Bottom Line: This accurate rocket sim encourages trial-and-error learning and makes for great (and often explosive) physics and engineering experiments.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

More Top Picks for You

  • Websites for Reading, Literacy, and Math Games

  • Digital Tools for School Libraries and Media Centers

  • Resources for After-School Enrichment Programs and Clubs