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Informal Science

STEM After School Program

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Thomas Gruber Thomas Gruber 250 Points

I am going to be starting a STEM after school program at my school to help increase STEM education at my school. There are a lot of ideas out there as to what to do for this kind of program. I was wondering what any of you have done before and what worked well? Please let me know, thank you, Thomas Gruber

Luz Alonzo Luz Alonzo 380 Points

I love the idea! I was in the STEM program after school and we usually would built many experiments that required simple resources that are used in a everyday life. We usually had one main project as a team and each team would meet once/ twice a week to work on our projects. Before we worked on our main projects we would first do one simple projects individually or with a partner. I enjoyed so much and we would go to the universities and would allow them to judge us on our experiments. I actually won with my team which was creating a wind mill, the requirements were to be as creative as possible with the limited resources that was provided. I love STEM program it is really helpful for the younger students to do experiments and have involvements.

Susanne Hokkanen Susanne Hokkanen 79520 Points

I am currently mentoring two after school science programs. One is an Underwater Robotics club - we will compete in April through the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL and MATE: We have a sponsorship through the Shedd for materials and content support for the mentors. In our club, students are required to complete an application to demonstrate a willingness to learn about ROVs and the club runs from September until after competition. I would also recommend looking into Sea Perch: although I have not worked within that specific program. The second club is a general science club. We recently found a "green" challenge competition for them to complete at KidWind: This competition will be held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in May. The science club also gets to "play around" with and compete among themselves using Lego MindStorms robots. This year they also entered the ExploraVision competition for the first time. Hope this information helps. There a lot of really great ideas on how to engage students in STEM. Good luck!

Thomas Gruber Thomas Gruber 250 Points

I am especially interested in middle school, specifically 6th grade. Thank you for the great web resources.

Emma Sarcar Emma Sarcar 240 Points

When I was in the 7th grade my class made rockets and launched them outside the school. It was so much fun because we all worked together as a class but each of us had an individual rocket that we built, decorated, and tested. It was definitely one of my more memorable science projects.

Jim McDonald Jim McDonald 5010 Points

I would look at KidzScience developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science. They have implementation videos and you can purchase one kit at a time and they will last for several sessions. Go to for more information.

Susanne Hokkanen Susanne Hokkanen 79520 Points

I would also suggest that NASA Explorer School curriculum. This link should send you to the registration page. If you want a "taste" of one or two of their lesson ideas, there are webseminars - live and archived - you can watch, which will provide guidance on how to implement the lessons/activities. Here is a link to register for upcoming webseminars: You may need to look through the description to find the webseminars specific to the Explorer School program, but they are worth it. Archived NASA webseminars can be found here: Hope this information helps.

 Brandy Whitney 405 Points

I would like to second the . It really kick started our STEM program at our school and brought in community interest when we launched our ROV in a local lake. I love the materials and more importantly so do my kids.

Shannon Hudson Shannon Hudson 2555 Points

When we design programs, we usually take a look at We are trying desperately to get girls involved in STEM

Stephen Pederson Stephen Pederson 760 Points

Options I am using is model rocketry and robotics with Lego Mindstorms. There is education material out there for both and can work in both Junior High and High school.

Thomas Ebling Thomas Ebling 1085 Points

I am a CTE educator and continue to see how STEM helps out the basic courses by providing good education plans that incorporate practice of math or science in those classes, and then benefit the basic courses according to NCLB requirements. Tom Ebling

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Shannon, you may wish to read the posts in the STEM for Girls Thread that is in this STEM forum. It contains many resourceful comments and aids. patty

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

There are a couple of NSTA books I have used to find activities to use in our middle school Science nights and after school programs. Many of the activities are adaptable for class or within a program. Integrating Engineering and Science in Your Classroom, Everyday Engineering : Putting the E in STEM Teaching and Learning, I would also check out the thread Patty gave you the link to, there are lots of great ideas.

Cayla Cielencki Cayla Cielencki 450 Points

I agree that KidzScience developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science is an awesome resource. They have implementation videos and you can purchase one kit at a time and they will last for several sessions. Go to for more information.

Keith Stanek Keith Stanek 1005 Points

We just did a STEM Camp through Discovery Education that was a great success. We used the curriculum on the DE website under camps, WATER. The kids were totally engaged and parents were extemely pleased and complimentary of our undertaking. DE has designed these camps for after school STEM programs. Contact me at [email protected]

Stephen Menninger Stephen Menninger 810 Points

You can get some ideas from the Maker Camp, a virtual summer camp for teens that is partially sponsored by Google. They have a couple of weeks left in this week's session. There is an archive of daily projects from previous weeks. A group I worked with a couple of weeks ago in a summer academy used a few of the project ideas with our students.

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

I am a Hpuston area STEM specialist, I recommend that you create an alignment for the year and build units.

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hi Thomas. I encourage you to check out the YouTube channel I have created for free science demonstrations for every idea that young learners should know. It is called FunScienceDemos. The videos are common core aligned and cover a variety of topics from Earth/Space science to Physical Science to Engineering! These demonstrations are easy to recreate. In the coming year we will be adding supplemental material in the form of additional readings, questions, and worksheets. Please check it out and subscribe! Hope this was helpful, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

Jessica Hadley Jessica Hadley 655 Points

Wow! What a fabulous idea and great way to bring STEM to your community. Thank you for all of the replies to the post, everything has been encouraging and great ideas are swirling in my head. I am ready to put some into action!!

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3395 Points

I have been given funds for an after-school stem club. Thanks for the links to resources. This program is for grades 4 and 5. Any more recommendations would be welcome. Thanks.

LeRoy Attles LeRoy Attles 56550 Points

I Co-Directed a STEM CAMP over the summer so here is are some ideas you may use to engage students in your club. 1) Have students do Science experiments 2) Invite local STEM professionals to visit and talk about their careers 3) See if local Museums have traveling exhibits with can visit your after-school program 4) See if local colleges can come a share their STEM related research 5) Get STEM related activities from Science Museum websites 6) Have STEM club enter an NSTA affiliated Science Competition 7) Make time for Brain Games like Master Mind, Chess ect, 8) Engage kids in discussions on what they can do to solve real world STEM problems in the NEWS

Molly Lembezeder Molly Lembezeder 3130 Points

I love the idea of an after school "independent study" type workshop in the STEM area. I am a preservice teacher interested in working with K-2 students and would love to set up something similar for those ages when I get my first job. It would probably have to have a little more structure considering the ages and abilities will be more dependent, but I think it's so important to start students off in STEM young and foster a curiosity and love for it right away. Anyone here have any resources for me regarding STEM in the younger grades, more specifically for after school programs like this one? Also, I'm sure there are plenty of grants out there for this sort of thing, but I'd appreciate being pointed in the right direction!

Megan Doty Megan Doty 11847 Points

Hi Molly, I found an article about an after-school club that discussed different pollutants and then changed some behaviors to try to solve some of the issue of pollution. This club in particular was for older elementary students, but do you think you may be able to adapt to a younger audience? What other kinds of activities are you interested in trying with an after-school program? -Megan

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