The worlds of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM) are exciting and relevant in so many ways. STEM is everywhere and in everything, making our lives run smoothly. Without STEM, we would not have many of the things we use on a daily basis–from microwaves and lighting to yep, your favorite mobile app.

Inventions and innovations of all kind stem from STEM (no pun intended, promise!).

When was the last time you pondered the exact science or mathematical formula that makes the simplest–but, oh, so necessary–things work? Well, consider this a lesson in the surprising science in your home:


Microwaves are in almost every American kitchen. They quickly and efficiently heat food by transforming electric energy into heat energy directly in the molecules of food. This appliance uses electric energy to generate tiny little microwaves, or waves of energy, that travel through air at lightening speed. The waves move up and down rapidly and bounce off of the reflective walls of the microwave. When they pass through food, the energy causes the molecules of the food to bounce up and down rapidly as well. This movement generates heat in much the same way that rubbing your hands together quickly. The heat builds up pretty quickly inside your food, thereby thawing, heating or cooking it.


Electricity is still the primary source of lighting in most homes. When the sun goes down, it’s as simple as flipping a switch to bring light into your home. The science? Simple: Lightbulbs connect to an electric circuit inside your house. An electric circuit is an interconnection of wires through which electricity travels. When the switch is flipped, the circuit is completed, allowing electricity to pass through the lightbulb. Electricity traveling through the lightbulb is converted from electric to light energy on the thin wire (aka filament) within the bulb. This thin piece of metal is the catalyst for your experience of light.


If you’ve ever connected your Airpods or speaker to your smartphone or other device, you probably used Bluetooth. This technology, like microwaves, uses energy waves but a different type. Bluetooth uses longer radio waves (rather than short microwaves) to carry signals. When the radio waves transmit from your device, they travel through the air. Using electricity, a Bluetooth-enabled receiver picks up these waves and converts them to sound. 

Daily life would look extremely different without these and other major innovations. Sometimes it’s fun to just consider the world around us and how exactly we get to enjoy even the seemingly simple conveniences. Here at Play Like a Girl, we encourages you to take this exercise even further. Is there something you can create, build or develop to help improve daily life? If so, get at it! We’re rooting for you.

Leave a comment below and share some of your favorite things powered by STEM.