While for students, summer means sunshine, swimming, sleepovers, and fun, for parents and educators, it also means summer slide, the learning loss that can take place during this no-school season.

The STEM Activity App may solve the issue of summer slide. This free web app, launched in fall 2013, is specifically designed to engage families with elementary-age students in STEM activities. It provides engaging experiments for parents and children to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math.

Barbara Joseph is a two-time recipient of the Silvia Earl Innovation award and the innovator of the STEM Activity App. She created the app for students in grades 3-6, to help make learning math and science fun and to boost interaction between parent and child.

The app runs 10 weeks with three activities delivered via email every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It involves families and students in fun, easy activities within STEM fields with the intention of strengthening interest in these subjects for the next generation.

App activity examples:

Design your own airplane. Start with a sheet of paper. Launch as-is and see what happens. Now fold the paper once and launch it again. Did it go further? Fold and trim the paper and see which designs glide the farthest. Why do you think some designs are better gliders than others? What’s the farthest you can make your airplane go?

How long does it take your heart to beat 100 times? Find your pulse and count out 100 heartbeats while timing yourself. Have a family member do the same. Does it take the same amount of time for both of you to reach 100 heartbeats? Why or why not? Knowing how long it takes your heart to beat 100 times, figure out how long it would take for it to beat 1,000 times.

How long can you keep an ice cube from melting in your warm kitchen? Use paper, plastic, or foam cups to hold an ice cube. You can also try wrapping the cups in foil, newspaper, or bubble wrap. Which material or combination of materials do you think will make the best insulators? That is, which material do you think will keep the ice from melting the longest? Make a prediction before you begin!