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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Shaping Connections

Use the power of communication inventions to collaborate, shape new solutions, and share your thoughts and ideas with a family member or friend.


Materials Needed

  • Clay (or playing dough or aluminum foil)
  • Craft stick (or other tool for adding details to clay or dough)
  • Device to make a video call (e.g., computer, smartphone or tablet)
  • Timer


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Set up a date and time to video call a friend or family member. Don’t forget to discuss what video call platform you will use, and then send an invite.
  2. Ask them to have some clay, playing dough or aluminum foil ready at the time of your call so that you can do an activity together. (Other tools, like a craft stick, may also come in handy for adding details.)
  3. Before your video call, find clay, dough or foil (as well as a craft stick or other detail-carving tool) for yourself too.
  4. Set a timer for two minutes, or use this Two-Minute Timer, while each person molds an animal out of clay at the same time.
    • Don’t overthink it! Mold the first animal that comes to mind.
  5. After the timer is up, each person should share what they created.
  6. Complete more challenges using your clay (or other modeling material)! Reset the timer before molding each object. Need ideas?

    • Mold a futuristic car.
    • Mold a sea creature.
    • Mold a robot and give it special features.
    • Mold an invention to catch bugs.
    • Freestyle mold! (Each person chooses something they would like to mold.)
  7. After completing the challenges, discuss the questions below:
    • Was it tricky to mold a new object in two minutes? Why or why not?
    • What was your favorite thing to mold? Why?
    • What was the most difficult thing to mold? Why?
    • Do you like sculpting with clay? Did you find it easy or difficult to use? Why?
    • Do you enjoy sharing your creations? Why or why not?


What Are We Discovering?

Rapid molding can help spark new ideas. By taking a prompt and molding the first thing that comes to mind, you are exercising your creativity. Planning a time to exercise creativity together can add to the fun!

Engineer and National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Marian Croak has worked on advancing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies, converting voice data into digital signals that can be easily transmitted over the internet rather than using traditional phone lines. Her work has furthered the capabilities of audio and video conferencing, making it a practical reality in today’s world.


Looking for Even More STEM Fun?

Check Out Camp Invention! If your child enjoys STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, they will love Camp Invention®, NIHF’s nationwide K-6 STEM summer camp. To learn more about this year’s brand-new program and to reserve your spot today, we invite you to visit our website.

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