Beginner STEM Guide

 Beginner Stem Guide 2

Further develop and nurture your child's intellectual capabilities with a range of brain stimulating STEM activities! Specially made for kids aged 7-12.


You are now on Beginner Level (ages 7 - 12).


STEM for the young minds

The young minds are developing quickly and it is in the process of developing the ability to think concretely. Take advantage of these STEM activities for young adolescents to ensure their minds develop in the right direction! And if you haven't had the chance to get to know STEM, be sure to check out our first beginner STEM guide where it clearly explains why and how it is beneficial for your child!

 Key Skills of STEM

These key skills include: 

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical analysis
  • Digital literacy
  • Initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Independent thinking

Whatever stage your children are in in school, these key skills will facilitate a more meaningful experience throughout their academic years because they would be more prepared. The following STEM activities will encourage your children to learn more about the animal kingdom, difference between hair types, difference between the multiple states of matter of a simple household ingredient as salt, how to navigate the stars and constellations, and how to observe the gas giant of our solar system which is Jupiter. All of which will develop your child's STEM skills, facilitating a foundation that your children can rely on to face any challenges that require understanding of Chemistry, Technology and Science.


STEM activities


Animal spotting

The perfect STEM activity for outdoor kids, especially if your kids love animals!  Australia is home to a large array of birds, we have 8 different families all residing around Australia, Ducks, Finches, Honeyeaters, Parrots, Pigeons, Raptors, Robins, Water Birds. While you won't find all of them at one place, there's a good chance if you visit a waterbody such as a lake or a river during the day time, you will find quite a few of these birds. My advice would be to research the birds that would be available near your location and visit a nearby waterbody, and if not a conservation park or a zoo will suffice. A helpful website to identify all the different types of birds would be Australia's Wonderful Birds, it also recommends some excellent places to see these wonderful birds!

Common Pacific Black Duck  
Common Pacific Black Duck (Available at most Australian Wetlands) Australian Wood Ducks (Available across Australia)


What would be a good place for the family to enjoy a weekend while surrounded by animals? A zoo! While you won't always get a guarantee at being able to see certain birds in the wild, the zoo will always have their listed animals where you expect to find them. Similarly, if you have a Safari trip planned, you may get views of animals guaranteed but to make the best of the experience both at the zoo and the safari, you may want to invest in a binoculars.

Zoo of animals


DIY animal spotting:

To make sure your child has the best experience with these exercises, we must do some DIY (do it yourself), first identify all the animals you intend for your child to look for, and collect all their images, all of which is to be compiled on a piece of paper. Make sure to write their name next to the images so the child could identify them easier, next allow them to analyse and identify the animals themselves to tick off the list. For extra points, consider differentiating between a species of an animal or finding a specific named animal at a zoo, such as Aiyara and Kati from Melbourne Zoo!

Aiyara Asian Elephant Calf Kati Asian Elephant Calf
Aiyara Asian Elephant calf (16 November 2022) Kati Asian Elephant calf (born 1 January 2023)


To ensure you have the best possible experience while spotting these animals, investing in a binocular will allow the child to  analyse and have a close look of the features of these animals, helping them identify the difference between similar species, or tracking an obscure animal. Below I have suggested a few binoculars that would suit such usage.


Saxon 7x50 Wide Angle Binocular

Saxon 7x50 Wide Angle Binocular

Wide field of  view for easier time tracking, Porro prism for enhanced visibility

Saxon Rosella 10x42L Waterproof Roof Prism Binoculars

Durable design, waterproof, Extremely close focus distance

Saxon 10x42L Waterproof Roof Prism Binocular



Comparing different type of hair

For this experiment you will need, variety of hair types, a stereo microscope and a tweezer.

Hair Inspection

Extract all the hair types that will be used in the experiment, switch on the microscope and turn on the LED light. With the tweezer, carefully place a strand of hair on the middle section, allowing the child to analyse each strand of hair taking notes of the Papilla, colour and thickness.



Salt after evaporating water

Variety of salt

For this experiment you will need a biological microscope, blank slides (as many as the variety of salt), Beakers to contain the salt, liquid dropper, microscope camera (comes with a few microscope)

In this experiment, we will observe all the different kinds of salt under a microscope. If your household has multiple types of salt, now is the time to bring them out. Firstly, have your children document the appearance of all the different salt as it is, then in separate beakers (lab beakers for best lab practices!) fill them with a bit of water, just enough to have them dissolve into salt water; because we will boil them later!

Mix and dissolve the salt into the water, once dissolved, using a liquid dropper, place a drop of the salt water on an empty slide. Observe and take note of the difference between the salt water variety and how it differs from the original forms.

Finally, heat the water up to boil and evaporate the water until only salt is left. Move the salt over to a slide and observe through a microscope, taking note of the difference between it and the original forms as well as the water solution form.


recommended microscope for the experiments:

Saxon TKM Sciencesmart 60x-960x Biological Digital Microscope Kit

Saxon TKM Sciencesmart 60x-960x Biological Digital Microscope Kit

Portable hard carry case, blank slides and prepared slides and a digital camera for microscope

Saxon SBM Sciencesmart 40x-640x Biological Microscope

Portable hard carry case, blank slides and prepared slides and a digital camera for microscope


Saxon SBM Sciencesmart 40x-640x Biological Microscope



Star Gazing

perfect for the aspiring star gazers

Observing and identifying the stars can be seemingly challenging for beginners, but with a planisphere it can be an enjoyable exercise for your child. With the planisphere, all you would have to do is align the date of the month to the time of the day to identify the current map of the stars. This may sound confusing, but one you get your hand on one, it would feel much more intuitive. Most importantly, find out the direction of  South, then according to the side of the planisphere, point the correct side towards either North or South, then you may adjust the disc until the time aligns with the day of the month.

You may find a planisphere to look like this:

Star Disc - Double Sided Planisphere Star Disc - Double Sided Planisphere



Observing Jupiter

Jupiter is the biggest planet within our solar system, twice as big as all the other planets combined! and it is time we take a look at this gas giant through a telescope. And if we want the best chance to locate and see it, we want ourselves to be equipped with a smartphone with Star Walk 2 app installed, and a blue filter. Input your location into the Star Walk 2 app and look for Jupiter, once it's located, put a blue filter on the telescope and let your kid observe this gas giant like never seen before!

Jupiter Graphic

A few things you need to keep in mind when trying to observe Jupiter:

Plan to observe Jupiter when it is located high up in the sky, you can use online tools to predict where it will be in the sky. The reason for this is because the higher it is in the sky, the less atmosphere the light coming from Jupiter has to go through, resulting in better image quality.

Finding a site with less light pollution, any light in the surrounding will affect the level of contrast between the sky and Jupiter, resulting in less visibility.

Jupiter rotates around the sun just as we do, and eventually when Jupiter is on the same side of the sun as us, it is called a Jupiter opposition. Which is when Jupiter will be the closest  to us, giving us a big and clear image, and when it isn't we will get a less clear image. Additionally, sometimes turbulence in our atmosphere can cause bad seeing naturally even if all the other conditions are favourable, in that case, don't give up and try again another day!

Below I've listed a few telescopes that would be well capable of observing Jupiter:

Saxon 6 Dobsonian Telescope

Saxon 6 Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Wide aperture for brighter image, long focal length for a bigger image

Saxon Pioneer 1026az3 Refractor Telescope

Comes with helpful accessories, such as a barlow lens and 3 difference eyepieces

Saxon Pioneer 1026az3 refractor telescope

Saxon novo 909az3 refractor telescope

Saxon Novo 909az3 Refractor Telescope

Long focal length resulting in a big image of Jupiter!



I hope both you and your children have had a great time or will have a great time in the near future while implementing these fun STEM activities into your lives. And with the key STEM skills your children would have developed, they will prevail through any challenges using the foundation facilitated by these STEM activities. So should any once-in-a-lifetime opportunity come to your children, they would confidently say "I'm ready!". Thank you for reading, and keep an eye out for future STEM guides that will be advanced in setting them up for their adult lives!


Resource List:

Beginner Stem Guide

Cognitive development in the teen years

Microscope based stem activities for students

How to find Jupiter through a telescope

Wonderful Birds of Australia