February 5, 2020

Low-Tech STEM Activity: What the Heck Is That?

It’s amazing how fast technology advances. Devices that were state of the art not that long ago wind up in the junk closet before you know it.

We recently dropped by Kiddie Academy of Abingdon in Maryland with several items that were once high-tech must haves and asked the 5-year-olds if they knew what they were, and if so, how to use them. The reactions were predictably precious.

Phone book

kids explore phone book
“Doesn’t look like a book we want to read.”

Flip phone

Kiddie Academy kids explore flip phone

“How do you turn this thing on?”

Portable TV

Kiddie Academy kids explore portable tv

“What is this?”

Film negatives

Kiddie Academy students explore film strips

“Are these Band-Aids®?”

Game Boy

students explore game boy

“It’s a remote control!”


Kiddie Academy students explore iPod

“A song thing.”

Discman CD player

student explores CD player

And our favorite – “Is it a robot vacuum?”

If you’ve got a collection of “old tech” stashed away, you could do this activity at home. Show the devices to your child and explain how they were used and what we use instead today. It’s a fun and hands-on way to talk about technology while sharing family memories.

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