10 AAPI Heritage Month STEM Activities

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In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re highlighting the accomplishments of 10 amazing AAPI inventors, scientists and innovators. Their legacy endures in countless breakthroughs and staples of today’s technology. With these STEM activities, your kids can learn about these individuals’ lives and explore their impact on modern life. 

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month provides an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the many cultures, nationalities, and histories that enrich our world. Of course, the contributions and events of countless individuals and centuries of history should be celebrated and recognized year-round, but the month of May offers a special occasion to spotlight them! 

STEM Activities for AAPI Heritage Month

Get hands-on with these engaging activities designed to dive into the work and discoveries of AAPI figures in STEM. From studying meteorology to unlocking the secrets of fiber optic technology and microcosms of life, there are fascinating depths to explore. 

Navigate with the star compass

Legendary navigators, the Maori people used the stars to travel thousands of miles by canoe. Their star compass creation mapped the skies and made it possible to make amazing journeys. Learn more through this TED Talk lesson and try this star navigation simulator to dive deeper! 

Connect to fiber optic technology 

Narinder S. Kapany, known as the father of fiber optics, created the advanced technology relied on by so many today. Amazingly fast, fiber optics are essential to NASA, internet connections all over the world, and medicine alike. Discover how this technology works in this hands-on activity

Learn about N95 mask design 

N95 masks are essential in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, among their many other health and safety uses. The N95 was designed by Peter Tsai, a scientist who engineered the electrostatically charged fibers needed to make a uniquely effective face covering. Discuss how the N95 stacks up against other types of face coverings and learn about infectious disease prevention. 

Learn with YouTube

Co-Founded by Steven Shih Chen, YouTube has changed the world of streaming forever. In fact, it’s safe to say that, as a platform, YouTube created streaming as we know it today. There are countless ways to learn and create with YouTube. Get started by exploring these educational YouTube channels and learning more about the amazing educational benefits of YouTube

Discover what really lives under rocks 

Ever wonder how tiny living things manage to survive in the harshest climates? Scientist Roseli Ocampo-Friedmann discovered how microscopic life can exist where other living things can’t. To learn more, check out this activity that explores the complex life that can be found under rocks.

Blast off to the stars

Renowned for his research on the structure and evolution of stars, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar is one of the most important voices in astrophysics. To understand his discoveries, discuss his findings and or explore the universe further with Cosmos.

Build like a structural engineer

Skyscrapers are a mainstay of any city skyline, and they stand tall in part because of Fazlur Rahman Khan, inventor of key aspects of this structure. In his honor, kids of all ages can try their hand at building like a structural engineer and learn how to build their own masterpiece from the ground up. 

Learn about space pioneers 

Ellison Onizuka, the first Japanese American to go to space, leaves behind a powerful legacy at NASA. During his life, he logged 74 hours in space. Tragically, he was killed during the Challenger space mission: he can be remembered through this interactive biography.

Track tornadoes 

Meteorologist Ted Fujita studied tornadoes and it’s because of his work that we can understand them today. He invented the essential Fujita Tornado Scale, which is used to measure the magnitude of tornadoes today. Little ones can understand his impact by creating their own tornadoes in a jar, and older students can learn about tornado meteorology in this activity

Research how to treat infectious diseases

Flossie Wong-Staal is renowned for her discoveries in how infectious diseases are spread. Her groundbreaking work in HIV research helped scientists understand how the immune system responds to the disease, which is essential to treatment. Read this interview with Flossie Wong-Staal to learn more about her cutting-edge research. 

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with STEM and more!

STEM fields are just a few of the countless ways in which Asian and Pacific Islander cultures and individuals have shaped the world as we know it. This AAPI Heritage Month, talk with your child about the ways you and your family can celebrate and learn together!

Check out the AAPI Heritage Month website for more resources, celebration ideas, and educational activities. 

A photo of Virginia

Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains. 

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