Blended STEM learning experiences that connect in-school and out-of-school learning are a key recommendation in the recently released America’s Strategy for STEM Education:
Creative, blended educational opportunities that combine elements from traditionally separate approaches to learning—e.g., formal-plus-informal, career and technical education-plus-college preparatory—and are aligned across the scope of learning partners—result in learners gaining and building their skills in ways that work best.
Research by Adam Maltese, Robert Tai, and colleagues also shows how important out-of-school STEM experiences are at developing an interest in science, especially at the elementary school level.
Visit the conference details page for more information about this virtual conference, its presenters, and the agenda .
Making the Case for the Impact of Out-of-School STEM Learning
We will examine the research regarding when and where STEM learning occurs, when it is most important for developing future interest in STEM, and the role of out-of-school STEM learning.
Better Together: Bridging the School-Day and Afterschool in a STEM
In 2016, ExpandED Schools launched Design2Learn, an afterschool science program designed to improve engagement and achievement in STEM among high-needs urban middle schoolers in New York. By examining and modifying existing research on collaborative teaching, curricular bridging, and design-based learning, ExpandED Schools created a novel afterschool program model that features collaboration between school-day teachers and afterschool educators, connections to school-day curriculum, and hands-on engineering projects. Join Design2Learn staff as they explain the steps they took to increase student engagement and interest through research-based strategies, tools, and program design. Workshop participants interested in pursuing these core elements in their communities will receive resources to bring home and share.
Place-based Education: Empowering Youth to Protect Natural Resources In and With Their Community
Place-based stewardship education (PBSE) is a proven method of bringing students closer to their communities and developing knowledgeable and active stewards of the environment. The Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) supports PBSE experiences for K-12 students. Alongside Great Lakes scientists and natural resource professionals, youth are helping to conserve Lake Huron's biodiversity, restore native fisheries, monitor vernal pool wetlands, and tackle the ongoing issue of marine debris. The NEMIGLSI network has been growing PBSE in northeast Michigan since 2009. More than 20% of the student population are annually engaged as Great Lakes stewards and valued community leaders. NEMIGLSI engages more than 35 schools and 290 educators from ten counties in professional development opportunities and stewardship project support. The NEMIGLSI network is part of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI), a statewide effort to develop engaged stewards of the Great Lakes. We hope to inspire formal and informal educators to explore and adopt place-based education as a means of engaging youth in environmental stewardship projects that benefit their communities.
Scientific Research in the Classroom: Access Free Citizen Science Resources with SciStarter
To meet today’s local to global challenges, science needs more eyes, ears, and perspectives than the number of current scientists possess. Enter citizen science: a collaboration between scientists and people who are curious, who are concerned and motivated to make a difference, and who can give a portion of time and thought to solving problems. Citizen scientists assist researchers by taking photos of clouds or streams, by documenting changes in habitat, by using sensors to monitor water and air quality, and by playing online games to detect diseases, and this work can directly support local environments and our health. Further, with today’s tools – smartphone apps even – local data often are fed into larger regional and global datasets that support climate models, water quality models, fire risk predictions, and more.
Many educators have successfully integrated citizen science in the classroom, stimulating lifelong learning. The presenter from the SciStarter team will describe what citizen science is; demo a project; share free resources for K-12, college, and informal educators; and describe educator success stories and ongoing programs with North Carolina State University and Broward County Schools.
Closing Remarks & Call to Action
The presenter will summarize key aspects of the breakout sessions and other STEM education efforts that connect in- and out-of-school practices and settings, with the goal of inspiring conference attendees to take action in their communities to forge stronger collaborations and reduce artificial boundaries between formal and informal STEM education practices, settings and organizations.