Top Pick

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 transferrable skills, and make cool, useful stuff. 

Advance Scientific Practices

Defined STEM Visit Website: https://app.definedstem.com/home
Stellar collection of STEM resources supports project-based learning
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
DIY Nano Publisher: The Lawrence Hall of Science
Turn kids into budding nanoscientists who explore the tiniest things
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Autodesk Digital STEAM Measurement Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Interactive, lab-like exploration of measurements is a good STEAM tool
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Algodoo Publisher: Algoryx
Sandbox tool enables engaged, conceptual physics inquiry
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Science Buddies Visit Website: http://www.sciencebuddies.org
A magic wand for those seeking science project support and success
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Exploratorium Visit Website: http://www.exploratorium.edu/
Science experiments and activities abound in this comprehensive resource
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
PocketLab Publisher: Myriad Sensors
Gather and analyze live data anywhere
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, Chrome, Windows Phone
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Science Journal Publisher: Marketing @ Google
Turn your Android into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Be A Maker

ArtsEdge Visit Website: https://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators.aspx
Impressive cross-curricular resource helps put the A in STEAM
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
DIY - Skills For Kids Publisher: DIY
From cardboarding to cooking, this app helps kids find the fun in DIY
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Design Squad Nation Visit Website: http://pbskids.org/designsquad
Classmates can compete to solve fun engineering problems
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
DIY Visit Website: http://www.diy.org
Design, build, and share new things offline and online
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
KidsThinkDesign Visit Website: http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/index.html
Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Instructables Visit Website: http://www.instructables.com
Endless collection of DIY projects; good for sharing and inspiration
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Make: Online Visit Website: http://makezine.com/
Fuel creative makers with project ideas, reviews, and community
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4

Build Engineering Skills

littleBits Invent Publisher: littleBits Electronics Inc.
Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
3D Slash Visit Website: http://www.3dslash.net
Minecraft-like 3D modeling (and printing) made super easy for all ages
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Autodesk Design Academy Visit Website: http://academy.autodesk.com
Outstanding project-based tutorials for popular engineering software
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Autodesk Digital STEAM Visual Design Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Cool tool helps teach principles and elements of design in 3-D
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 2
NOVA Visit Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova
Compelling science videos have high-quality classroom applications
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
SketchUp Visit Website: http://www.sketchup.com/
Make learning meaningful through 3D design
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Tinkercad Visit Website: http://www.tinkercad.com
Amazingly simple yet powerful and flexible online CAD tool
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Codecademy Visit Website: http://www.codecademy.com
Terrific hands-on coding practice with live feedback
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4

Create and Play Games

Robot Factory Publisher: Tinybop
Improve designs, collect favorites in robot creation sandbox
Grades K-8
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Minecraft Publisher: Mojang
Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep
Grades 3-12
Type Game
Price $26.95 for desktop, $19.99 for consoles (except Wii U at $29.99)
Platforms Linux, Mac, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Gamestar Mechanic Publisher: Institute of Play and E-Line Media
Captivating manga romp teaches kids game design
Grades 4-9
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
LittleBigPlanet 2 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Accessible yet deep game creator will dazzle and challenge
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price 19.99
Platforms PS3
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Kids explore concepts in fun but sometimes frustrating mini-games
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Portal 2 Puzzle Maker Publisher: Valve
Mind-bending level editor for beloved physics game
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price $19.99
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Garry's Mod Publisher: Valve
Complex physics sandbox is daunting but rich
Grades 8-12
Type Game
Price $9.99
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Kerbal Space Program Publisher: Squad
Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated