Blog STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Back-to-School Name Creations

STEM Activities

A new school year is right around the corner!

Try these back-to-school STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities to build excitement as you get ready for a new season of fun and learning.


Activity One: Name Plate Scratch Art

Materials Needed:

  • Cardstock or construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Paint (a dark color like black or navy blue)
  • Paperclip


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Fold a piece of construction paper or cardstock in half the long way.
  2. Use fun, brightly colored crayons to color the entire surface of the construction paper.
  3. Paint over the crayon with a dark paint color like black.
  4. Once the paint is dry, use a paperclip to write your name by scratching off the paint.
  5. Consider adding to your design by scratching off any other designs you would like on your nameplate, like stars or smiley faces.
  6. Display your colorful nameplate for friends and family!


Activity Two: Name Puzzles

Materials Needed:

  • Adhesive notepad
  • Cardstock
  • Markers
  • Scissors


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Get together with friends or family and have each person write their name on an adhesive notepad sheet.
  2. Crumple each piece of paper and gently toss it into the middle of the room.
  3. Have each person grab a random crumpled sheet from the middle of the room.
  4. Using your markers, write the person’s name you drew in big letters in the middle of a piece of cardstock.

    Try to fill the whole piece of cardstock with the person’s name, and consider adding designs you think they would like.
  5. Once you’ve finished drawing your design, use scissors to cut the paper into puzzle pieces.
  6. Give the name puzzle to the person whose name you drew and have them try to put it together.


Activity Three: Nature Name Collage

Materials Needed:

Items from nature


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Take a walk outside, gathering items you find from nature, like rocks, sticks, acorns or leaves.
  2. Assemble your collected items in the shape of letters to spell out either your name or a friend’s name.
  3. Challenge yourself to use only items from nature and to keep the name collages outside.
  4. Show off your nature name to your friends or family!

You also can try this activity indoors – just swap out your items from nature with back-to-school supplies!


Activity Four: Name Poetry

Materials Needed:

  • Paper
  • Pencil


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Write your name or a friend’s name on a piece of paper, vertically.
  2. Use each letter of the name to begin a word or sentence that describes the person your poem is about, writing your words or sentences horizontally.
  3. Read your poem to a friend or hang it up for others to read.


Activity Five: Name Counting and Graphing

Materials Needed:

  • Dry erase marker
  • Whiteboard


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Gather a few friends or family members and ask each person to count how many letters are in their name.
  2. Record each answer on the whiteboard, where the entire group can see.
  3. Make a living line graph by having each person line up in order, according to how many letters are in their name.


What Are We Discovering?

A few of the materials you used for these activities, and many other classic school supplies, were invented by National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees.

Inductee Edwin Binney and his cousin C. Harold Smith invented Crayola® crayons. Their first box of crayons had eight colors (black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow and green) and sold for 5 cents. Inductees Arthur L. Fry and Spencer Silver co-invented Post-it® Notes, Inductee László Josef Bíró created the ballpoint pen and Inductee Richard Gurley Drew developed adhesive tape.

We have these influential inventors to thank for the back-to-school items we use and love!


Keep the Fun and Learning Going!

Check out our blog for even more hands-on activities and ideas to start the school year on the right foot.

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