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Bridging the Gap: Engaging Older Children in STEM Through Advanced Projects

Updated: Jul 11

Engaging older children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) can be challenging. As children grow, their interests and cognitive abilities evolve, requiring more complex and stimulating activities to keep them engaged. At Beyond the Beanstalk, we understand this developmental transition and have designed our Stepped Up STEM programs to meet these needs. In this blog, we will explore strategies to bridge the gap and keep older children excited about STEM through advanced projects.

Understanding the Challenge

As children enter their pre-teen and early teen years, they often seek more autonomy, relevance, and challenge in their learning experiences. Simple activities that once fascinated them may no longer hold their interest. Educators and parents must adapt to these changing needs by providing opportunities that are intellectually stimulating and relevant to real-world applications.

The Importance of Advanced STEM Projects

Advanced STEM projects play a crucial role in maintaining the interest of older children. These projects not only challenge their cognitive abilities but also help them develop critical skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and perseverance. By engaging in complex tasks, children learn to think critically and work collaboratively, preparing them for future academic and career success.

Strategies for Engaging Older Children in STEM

Project-Based Learning:

  • Implement project-based learning where children work on long-term projects that require planning, research, and execution. This method encourages deep learning and keeps students engaged over extended periods.

STEM robot with boy holding it

Real-World Applications:

  • Connect STEM projects to real-world problems and scenarios. When children see the relevance of their work, they are more likely to stay motivated and interested. For example, tasks like designing sustainable energy solutions or building prototypes for new inventions can spark their curiosity. Incorporate Technology and Innovation:

  • Utilise modern technology and innovative tools in your projects. Incorporating elements like robotics, coding, and 3D printing can make STEM learning more exciting and relevant to today’s tech-savvy generation. Encourage Collaboration:

  • Foster a collaborative environment where children can work in teams. Collaboration not only makes learning more enjoyable but also helps develop social and teamwork skills essential for their future.

Building STEM robot

Provide Autonomy:

  • Allow children to have a say in their projects. Giving them the freedom to choose their topics or design their experiments can significantly increase their engagement and investment in the learning process.

Stepped Up STEM at Beyond the Beanstalk

Our Stepped Up STEM programs are specifically designed to engage older children through advanced projects that challenge their intellect and creativity. Here are some examples of the projects we offer:

Solar Robots:

  • Students build and keep a solar-powered robots, learning about renewable energy and mechanical engineering principles. Making a Metal Detector:

  • This project involves creating and keeping a working metal detector, introducing students to the basics of electronics and magnetism. Creating a Hologram Illusion:

  • Students create their own hologram illusions using simple materials, exploring the science of light and optics. Building a Marionette:

  • This project involves designing and constructing a marionette, enhancing their understanding of mechanics and motion. Making a Flying Drone:

  • Students assemble a drone, learning about aerodynamics, electronics, and remote-control technology. STEPPED UP Forensics:

  • A hands-on biology project where students extract DNA from fruits, understanding the basics of genetics and molecular biology.

Success Stories

One of our recent workshops highlighted the success of our approach. A group of students was tasked with building a solar robot capable of navigating obstacles. Initially, the project seemed daunting, and many struggled. However, with perseverance and teamwork, they successfully completed the project. The sense of accomplishment and the skills they developed during this process were remarkable. Their educators were astonished by their progress and newfound confidence.

Engaging older children in STEM requires a thoughtful approach that considers their developmental needs and interests. By providing advanced projects that are challenging, relevant, and collaborative, we can bridge the gap and keep them excited about learning. At Beyond the Beanstalk, we are committed to nurturing the next generation of innovators through our Stepped Up STEM programs.

As a special offer, if you make a workshop booking with us for any age group, you can get 30% off a Stepped Up STEM program use code STEPPED30 or mention this blog.

*Conditions apply, offer valid until 01/11/2024

Visit our website at to learn more about our offerings and how we can support your child's STEM journey. Don't miss out on this opportunity to ignite your child's passion for STEM.


Liz from Beyond the Beanstalk

Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, with over 15 years of invaluable education experience, is the co-founder of Beyond the Beanstalk. Her rich background in education, coupled with a passion for innovative learning environments propels Beyond the Beanstalk's mission of inspiring educators and students alike. With a wealth of expertise, Elizabeth is dedicated to revolutionising education and making STEM accessible for all.


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