The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2029 employment in STEM occupations will increase by 8%, more than twice the rate of non-STEM careers. And the fact that the median STEM wage is more than double that of non-STEM wages underscores the importance of effective K-12 STEM instruction.
STEM subjects can be dense and difficult for students to engage with, which is why these top STEM apps can make a valuable addition to your STEM teaching toolkit. Most offer free basic accounts. And all are designed to capture the imagination of users, through games, puzzles, and high-quality graphics and sound.
- The Elements by Theodore Gray iOS
(opens in new tab)Animated by detailed, high-quality 3D graphics, The Elements by Theodore Gray brings the periodic table to life. With its strong visual appeal, it’s ideal for engaging science learners of any age, while older students will benefit from the depth of information presented.
- The Explorers iOS (opens in new tab)Android (opens in new tab)
This Apple TV App of the Year 2019 winner invites amateur and professional photographers and scientists to contribute their animal, plant, and natural landscape photos and videos to this extensive showcase of Earth’s wonders.
- Hopscotch-Programming for kids iOS
(opens in new tab)Designed for the iPad, and available for iPhone and iMessage as well, Hopscotch-Programming for Kids teaches children age 4 and above the basics of programming and game/app creation. This multiple-award winner is an Apple Editors’ Choice.
- The Human Body by Tinybop iOS (opens in new tab)Android (opens in new tab)
Detailed interactive systems and models help kids learn human anatomy, physiology, vocabulary, and more. A free handbook provides interaction hints and discussion questions to support learning in the classroom or at home.
- Inventioneers iOS (opens in new tab) Android
(opens in new tab)Kids learn physics while having a blast creating and sharing their own inventions, aided by Inventioneers Windy, Blaze, and Bunny. Winner of Parents' Choice Gold Award.
- K-5 Science for Kids - Tappity iOS
(opens in new tab)Tappity offers hundreds of fun interactive science lessons, activities, and stories covering more than 100 topics, including astronomy, Earth science, physics, and biology. Lessons align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
- Kotoro iOS
(opens in new tab)This beautiful and dreamy physics puzzle app has one simple goal: Users change their clear orb to a specified color by absorbing other colored orbs. A great way for students to learn and practice color-mixing principles. No ads.
- MarcoPolo Weather iOS (opens in new tab) Android
(opens in new tab)Kids learn all about weather by controlling 9 different weather conditions and playing with mini games and interactive elements. Three humorous characters who respond to users’ weather choices add to the fun.
- Minecraft: Education Edition iOS (opens in new tab) Android The ultimate building app for students, teachers, and kids of all ages, Minecraft is both a game and a powerful teaching tool. The education version provides hundreds of standards-aligned lessons and STEM curricula, tutorials and exciting building challenges. For teachers, students, or schools without a Minecraft: Education Edition subscription, try the hugely popular original Minecraft iOS (opens in new tab) Android
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- Monster Math: Kids Fun Games iOS (opens in new tab) Android (opens in new tab)
This highly touted gamified math app allows kids to learn and practice grade 1-3 Common Core Math Standards. Features include multiple levels, skill filtering, multiplayer mode, and in-depth reporting with skill-by-skill analysis.
- Prodigy Math Game iOS (opens in new tab) Android (opens in new tab)
Prodigy uses an adaptive game-based learning approach to engage students grades 1-8 in building and practicing math skills. Math questions are aligned with state-level curricula, including Common Core and TEKS.
- Shapr 3D CAD modeling iOS (opens in new tab)
A sophisticated program aimed at the serious student or professional, Shapr 3D CAD modeling is designed to provide users a mobile platform for CAD (computer-aided design) software, which is typically desktop-bound. The app is compatible with all major desktop CAD software, and supports Apple Pencil or mouse-and-keyboard input. Apple Design Awards 2020, 2020 App Store Editors’ Choice.
- SkySafari iOS (opens in new tab) Android
(opens in new tab)Like a pocket planetarium, SkySafari lets students explore, locate, and identify millions of celestial objects, from satellites to planets to constellations. Try the voice control feature, or use it in augmented reality mode to combine a simulated sky chart with the real view of the night sky.
- Trainyard iOS (opens in new tab) Android (opens in new tab)
Trainyard instructs players to direct trains to a “goal” station. Sounds simple, right? It is simple—but also devilishly difficult, after the initial easy levels are mastered. To solve the more advanced train puzzles, users must apply color theory and logical thinking to the task. One of the highest-rated App Store apps.
- World of Goo iOS (opens in new tab) Android (opens in new tab)
An App Store Editors’ Choice and multiple award winner, World of Goo starts off as an amusing game, then dives into weird but wonderful territory. This physics/building puzzler will keep kids engaged testing and applying engineering concepts and the laws of gravity and motion.