INDIANAPOLIS – Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national non-profit organization and the leading provider of K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum and teacher training, today released its 2014 “Super STEM Gifts,” a list of the best toys, apps and books that are both fun and educational and that will inspire young people’s interest in the STEM fields.
“It is essential that we get students interested in critical STEM subjects at an early age, and the best way to do that is to make the subjects engaging and relevant to their lives,” said Dorothy Gorman, chief communications officer, PLTW. “This holiday season is a perfect time for parents, grandparents and others to give thoughtful gifts that may inspire the next inventor, scientist, doctor or engineer, and the Super STEM Gifts list is a great place to start.”
PLTW’s Super STEM Gifts of 2014 are:
Magna Tiles ($12.25-$120 - www.magnatiles.com) – Magnetic building tiles that build critical developmental skills and promote creativity. Magna tiles come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes.
PowerUp 2.0 Free Flight Electric Paper Airplane ($16.99 - http://www.poweruptoys.com/) – Take the traditional paper airplane up a notch with this smartphone-controlled system that helps students explore technology and understand the concepts of flight.
Science Wiz DNA Kit ($19.95 - http://www.sciencewiz.com) – Learn the central concepts of molecular biology in 18 activities. Extract DNA from fruit, and then spool real DNA, build a double helix, and solve a chromosome. Other kits available for projects including Chemistry, Light, Magnetism and more.
Goldie Blox ($19.99-$204.93 – www.goldieblox.com) – Engineering and tech are fast-growing industries, yet only 11 percent of American engineers are women. Goldie Blox gets girls building from a young age, helping them develop special skills, engineering principles, and confidence.
Afinia H480 3D Printer ($1,299 - http://www.afinia.com/3d-printers) – While the most expensive of the Super STEM Gifts of 2014, the Afinia H480 is a great option for more advanced young engineers who want an introduction to the exciting new world of 3-D printing.
VEX Robotics HEXBUG 4-in-1 Kit ($149.99 - www.vexrobotics.com) – This award-winning system introduces students (and adults) to the world of robotics. The 4-in-1 kit includes more than 650 snap-together pieces and seven electronic elements that allow users to build functioning robots in 64 programming variations. Ages 8+. The VEX Robotics platform is used throughout the PLTW curriculum!
Sphero and Ollie ($99.99-$149.99 - www.gosphero.com) – These app-controlled robots are engineered for speed and customized by you.
KIBO ($299-$399 - www.kinderlabrobotics.com) – A robot-building kit for kids ages 4+ teaches programming and logic. Kids can customize and personalize the robot and make it move by inserting wooden blocks and scanning a bar code.
Elenco Electronic Snap Circuit Jr. Kit ($54.99 - www.elenco.com) – This electronics kit contains over 30 parts to build more than 100 projects including radios, alarms, games and more. It’s great for kid ages 8+. PLTW uses Elenco electronic kits in its classroom curriculum!
Circuit Scribe ($44.99 and up - www.123d.circuits.io) – From the makers of Autodesk, Circuit Scribe uses conductive ink to let users draw their own circuits to learn about electricity.
Code Monkey (Free - www.playcodemonkey.com) – An online game for writing code.
Robot Turtles ($19.99 - www.robotturtles.com) – “The board game for little programmers.” The most backed board game in Kickstarter history teaches computer programming to kids ages 4+.
Rasberry Pi ($39.95 - www.rasberrypi.org) – This credit-card sized computer plugs into a monitor or TV and teaches computing and how to program.
ScratchJr (Free - iPad) – Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, kids ages 5-7 can program their own interactive stories and games. PLTW uses ScratchJr in the PLTW Launch program!
Lightbot and Lightbot Jr. ($2.99 - iOS, Android, Amazon) – Solve puzzles using programming logic. Lightbot Jr. is designed for ages 4-8. Lightbot is designed for ages 9+.
Hopscotch (Free - iOS) – Hopscotch is an intuitive, friendly interface that teaches core programming concepts like sequencing, abstraction, values and conditionals.
Cargo-Bot (Free - iPad) – Cargo-Bot is the first game programmed entirely on iPad using Codea.
“Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women” – This book will inspire the young female scientist in your life with biographies of the women and girls who have changed the world with their inventions. Ideal for ages 8-12.
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope” – The true story of William Kamkwamba, a 14-year-old boy from Malawi who dreamed of building a windmill that would bring electricity and running water to his remote village. All ages.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.