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Top Streaming Picks for STEM & STEAM

Top Streaming Picks for STEM & STEAM

Previously here at TNN we talked about incorporating streaming options as a way to encourage a general interest in STEM and Science in general. The general idea being that as screen time is already a part of our lives, using family viewing to explore new worlds.

Now that we’ve covered the basic types of programs, I have gone ahead and listed a few of my favorite shows from each of the big 4 streaming providers; Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney +.

Prime Science

Prime STEM Jr. Science Shows (ages 5-10)

Animal Encyclopedia and Wild Kratts are always a go-to for me. Animal encyclopedia is a fun mix of different animals and ecosystems with enough science to call it educational but can be a little low energy for some kids. I was hooked on the original Wild Kratts as a kid but find that the new animated version to be just as endearing and manage to fit in even more information in this new format.

Sci Girls holds a place deep in my heart as female representation in science programming was always such a rarity as a kid. These days it is more common, but still not the norm. This show follows actual junior scientists as they work with mentors to develop some amazing stuff.

Whats up in Space is a pretty classic kids science program exploring space travel and our solar system. The content is nothing new or revolutionary, but it is a definite addition to your watch-list if you are looking for STEM content on Amazon Prime.

Brain Candy is what it says on the tin, this upbeat fun kids show sprinkles in trivia and science. The content is fun and upbeat without being too technical for younger viewers.

Prime Middle School Science (ages 11-13)

Annedroids is one of those picks that may have some parents squinting my way. While yes, the show is essentially science fiction the vast majority of the material is based on science fact. Additionally, the problem solving the kids use in the show is a valuable part of the scientific process and the shows more evenly balanced cast as far as gender and race are considered is a nice change of pace.

Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin is a smaller version of the nature documentaries you are likely to find on other streaming services. The series takes place at the Atlanta Aquarium, an AMAZING facility which gives the added advantage of having experts on hand and a broader variety of species available all in one place.

Design Squad is definitely the kind of program that I would have gotten all fired up about in middle school. Real-life teen designers and engineers are tasked with seemingly impossible challenges, from the perfect pancake flipper to wind-powered kinetic art. The thought process and trial and error are what make this show a must-see. Science doesn’t always get it right on the first go, and sometimes you have to figure out how to get things wrong before you can get them right.

Prime High School Science (14-18)

High School – Big Picture with Kal Penn, Science of Secrecy, Xploration animal science and Xploration Earth 2050.

For more STEM and STEAM or educational programming options on Amazon Prime you can check out resources from ‘We Are Teachers’ by clicking HERE.

STEM & STEAM on Netflix

Netflix –

Elementary STEM to Stream (3-10)

While interactive shows like Sid the Science kid may get old for parents, they are great for budding young scientists pre-k and younger.

Dino Hunt is a fantastic spin on the standard nature documentary which could only possibly be improved if it had been narrated by Sir David Attenborough. On that same vein is If I were an animal which has been a really cool way to explore the natural world in a different way from the normal point and shoot documentary.

The all-time favorite, for now, and forever, is and always will be Magic School Bus. I will follow Ms. Frizzle underneath a volcano, into the human body, and to pluto and back, even if it isn’t a planet anymore.

The InBESTigators is a really cute investigative science mystery series and nice pick for family watching as the awkward hijinks create enough laughs for even older kids (or nannies) to enjoy.

Middle STEM to STREAM (11-14)

Bill Nye, regardless of the decade, will always have my attention and my heart. I grew up watching Bill ride his bicycle (bike shorts and all) from the Sun to Pluto. I saw him have to explain, to fully grown adults, how detrimental an oil leak is to our ecosystem. Now I watch him explore everything from the basics of scientific theory to advancements in quantum computing. Bonus points – both old and new Bill are currently available on Netflix.

The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia is a phenomenal Netflix original featuring a female latinx super genius trying to navigate the world of teenagers and high school. Though the show is more family sitcom than science education, it touches on a lot of interesting topics and provides representation to a frequently under-served demographic at a pivotal age. For that and that alone I have included it in the recommendations for all three age groups (plus, it’s a really cute show).

Absurd Planet is hilarious and bizarre version of one of my high school recommendations, Our Planet. And Oh Yuck! covers all of the disgusting but still fascinating scientific concepts of things you’d probably rather not know about. Other recommendations include the live-action version of Carmen SanDiego, which is hilarious to watch as an adult, The Impossible Flight, 100 questions, and Magic for Humans, which features a lot of optical illusions and outside of the box thinking.

High School Science to Stream

As Netflix originals become more viral in nature, it is only natural for them to become more viral in their content. Explained views like those short animated explanations for things you see on your Facebook feed or in some TED Talks. They cover a huge variety of content in a completely bingeable format at sneaks information into your head and now have several different spin-offs including ‘The Mind’, ‘Coronavirus’, and ‘Sex’ Explained. All of which genuinely interesting for high schoolers and a great platform for bringing up topics of discussion.

While my brother is definitely more of a Dangerous Animals fan, I’m more comfortable watching Our Planet for the fourth time. Both are beautifully filmed nature documentaries with obviously different focuses and both will lead you into a slew of recommended nature documentaries and other similar content, but there were our favorites.

STEM & STEAM shows on Hulu

Hulu is one of my all-time favorite streaming providers right now. The slightly out of the box content mixed with a few family sitcoms make it a nice mix for me and a change-up from bingeing Netflix for too long. However, due to a large amount of HIGHLY inappropriate animated content that kids might accidentally click on, it is not one I recommend for families with young children. That being said;

Mythbusters was a science and engineering icon for a generation. For so many of us 90’s kids, Mythbusters was our introduction to science. It informed our understanding of physics and the scientific process and, maybe most importantly, confirmed within us the idea that even when you have everything planned out, things can still go wrong. Science is, at times, an exact science. And the rest of the time it’s a bunch of goons wandering around in the dark and hoping they won’t knock anything over. Mythbusters showed us the less pristine side of the process which often involves scaling projects up and down, taking questions apart to analyze their individual components, grease covered hands, errant explosions, getting things wrong, and starting over from scratch. The new Mythbusters Jr. series is just as much science-oriented but with more family-friendly and only slightly simpler concepts. The assembled crew of mini Mythbusters are brilliant creators, geniuses, and tinkerers in their own rights, and watching them tackle these problems directly is amazing.

Other favorites include the nature series What on Earth and Natures Strange Mysteries Solved, which both fit with Hulu’s kind of off and quirky branding and are a good fit for middle school and possibly younger teens. Vets Saving Pets is also a really cute series and a great way to introduce kids to the more medical side of animal science by luring them in with bunnies and puppies.

How it’s Made is a show that I routinely binge, but can be incredibly dry. Isolated episodes involving favorite candies or toys seem to hold interest, but beyond that, we mostly use the show as educational background noise. Superstructures Engineering Marvels is also a little dry, but very cool. Especially if you have kids who may be leaning more towards the engineering side of things, or just have a fondness for K’nex.

STEM & STEAM on Disney+

If you recently purchased Disney+ for access to either Star Wards or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you may have also noticed it comes with quite a few other featured channels, two of which make this list considerately simpler.

Basically ANYTHING on National Geographic (special shout out to The World According to Jeff Goldblum, One Strange Rock, Secrets of Tampa zoo and Weird but True) or Disney Nature are well worth your time.

For younger kids, Forky Asks a Question is an adorable Pixar project with several shorts based on the newly created character from the last Toy Story.

Aliens of the Deep is a team-up between James Cameron (yes, Avatar, that James Cameron) and NASA (yes, that NASA) that bends the line between science and science fiction by exploring the underwater trenches of the world and imagining the possibilities they hold, both for the earth and for human civilization. With undeniably beautiful visuals, the imagery and concepts are probably going to be a better fit for kids ages ten and up.

As always, these are just my recommendations. You know your kids best and if one of these shows is not the right fit for your child, skip it. Likewise, if you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to try introducing a show during family time and, if you child responds well, keep watching. Often times what kids are willing to watch alone or what they are willing to watch if it means spending time together are two very different things.

These are the listings available for each of these streaming services as of July 2020. What is offered on each of these services changes regularly, and as new shows are added old ones are removed.

What sorts of STEM or STEAM content do your kids like? Is there a particular favorite of your kids that I missed? What other science or generally nerdy activities do they, or you, enjoy?

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You can also check out Eve Daniels, author of The Nerdy Nanny books, on YouTube where she gives writing and academic advice as well as updating you on all of her latest and upcoming projects.

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