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Snacks by Melissa Ballard
DEC
18
2015

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: December 2015

By Melissa Ballard

In our final round-up of research briefs for 2015 from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project, we’ve got new research on developing students’ critical eye toward media, helping students address their fears about science, and using science infographics in the classroom. There are also two policy-related briefs from the Afterschool Alliance—one on the pathways STEM workers take to reach their current careers, and another on how state science standards address engineering.

Get more frequent updates by following the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook

Reading between the lines

Developing the ability to read and critically assess science-themed media reports is of great importance, given the media’s pervasive and powerful influence on people’s beliefs and behaviors. This Oliveras, Márquez, and Sanmartí study examines a technique designed to develop high school students’ critical reading abilities. Findings suggest a progression from blind belief toward the ability to draw conclusions based on scientific information.

KEYWORDS:  Argumentation, Scientific practice, Scientific reasoning

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learn more about: Science
DEC
14
2015

STEM
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Where to go next with coding: A new resource guide

By Melissa Ballard

As Computer Science Education Week ended on Sunday, we know many of you participated in the Hour of Code, giving your students a fun and easy introduction to computer science. Thinking about what your next steps should be? Check out our new resource guide for computing!

The guide includes curricula, professional development resources, and some background reading. While there’s lots of resources on computer science and coding out there, we put together a curated list just for afterschool educators.

We’ll continue to do more around computing in 2016, so be sure to visit our computing webpage: www.afterschoolalliance.org/STEM_computing.cfm

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learn more about: Science Academic Enrichment
OCT
7
2015

STEM
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The Hour of Code is coming: Mark your calendars for December 7-13, 2015!

By Melissa Ballard

We know you’re right in the middle of planning an awesome Lights On Afterschool event, but don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2015 Hour of Code, December 7-13!

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Kids of all ages—from elementary to high school—choose from several tutorials to make a video game, animation, and more!

Sign up to host an Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13) at hourofcode.com.

Supports for afterschool educators

This year, Code.org developed a brand-new guide especially for afterschool educators.

  • Need more guidance? Download this template lesson plan.
  • Want more teaching ideas? Here are some best practices from experienced educators.
  • Join us on Nov. 11 at 1PM ET for a special webinar with experts from Code.org!

Prizes for every host site

Every participating afterschool host will receive a thank-you gift. Sign up now to hear first about more prizes and new Hour of Code tutorials coming soon — some of the most exciting to date!

100,000 classrooms

Our friends at Code.org want to reach 100,000 Hour of Code events around the world in December. We know that afterschool engages millions of kids in STEM learning: be one of the organizers who proves anybody can learn, and every young person deserves to learn how to build technology that will impact everything in their futures.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Science
AUG
20
2015

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: August 2015

By Melissa Ballard

This month’s new batch of research briefs from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project includes a diverse set of topics: how afterschool educators inserted science into girls’ discussions of relationships and friendships; why leveraging learning across school and out-of-school settings is important for equity; and how conversations between students and STEM professionals enhance middle-schoolers’ understanding of math.

RR2P also released a new Connected Collection, which is a group of briefs around a hot topic in science education. This collection, “Identity and Interest Development,” helps practitioners think about how to authentically engage youth in science learning and maintain their interest long-term.

Don’t miss next week’s webinar, “Digging into Research: Interest and Identity in STEM,” on Thursday, August 27 at 2p.m. EDT. We’ll be joined by researchers Phillip Bell of the University of Washington and Deborah Fields from Utah State University. Register here.

For more updates, follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook

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learn more about: Science
JUL
29
2015

STEM
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Tell us your thoughts on computer science in afterschool!

By Melissa Ballard

We need your help to better understand what the afterschool field thinks about computing and computer science education. Don’t know what those terms mean? That’s okay! We are looking for a range of practitioners to respond to this survey—from those with no familiarity, all the way to those who would consider themselves experts!

Because we value your time and expertise, we’re giving away some prizes! Complete the survey before August 7 to be in the running for a brand-new iPad Air. If completed before the final deadline of August 14, you will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

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learn more about: Science
JUL
10
2015

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: July 2015

By Melissa Ballard

It’s all about making and tinkering in this month’s batch of research briefs from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project! Three of these briefs were also featured in the Connected Collection, “Learning through Tinkering in STEM Education.” For a great discussion with researchers and practitioners, check our June webinar, “Digging into Research: Making and Tinkering in Afterschool.”

Follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook


An overview of learning through making and tinkering

Vossoughi and Bevan conducted a literature review of educational research on making and tinkering. They considered what was known about learning opportunities for young people afforded by high-quality tinkering and making experiences. Specifically, they reviewed the historical roots of making, the emerging design principles that characterized tinkering and making programs, the pedagogical theories and practices that lead to supportive and collaborative learning environments, and the possibilities and tensions associated with equity-oriented teaching and learning.

Keywords:  Creativity, Culture, Equity, Everyday Experiences, Learning Across Settings, Participation

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learn more about: Equity Science
JUN
18
2015

STEM
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Digging into research with new resources & webinars!

By Melissa Ballard

We’re excited to announce the release of a new resource from our friends at the Research + Practice Collaboratory—the Connected Collection! Each collection synthesizes of-the-moment science education topics and comes with a bundle of research briefs that provide multiple cases, examples, and ongoing challenges for busy professionals to consider as they seek to improve learning environments for youth. The Connected Collection emerged from our work on the Relating Research to Practice project as a practical tool that out-of-school-time practitioners could use to help expand their own thinking, shape program structure and guide the professional development of staff.

What’s ready for you now:

 Coming up:

  1. Gender Equity
  2. Interest and Identity
  3. STEM Practices
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learn more about: Science
APR
20
2015

STEM
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Enter the STEM Uncovered video competition

By Melissa Ballard

Every day a light goes on in a young person's head as they grasp new concepts in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM), all because an afterschool or summer learning program has created a hands-on experience where interests are sparked and passions are fueled. Now is the time to tell that story!

Afterschool and summer learning STEM programs are invited to enter the STEM Uncovered: Telling Our Afterschool Stories video competition, a national video competition sponsored by the Noyce Foundation with support from the C.S. Mott Foundation.

Create a short (3 minute) video highlighting the impact of your program—students should creatively communicate what they love about their afterschool and summer STEM learning programs and how it inspires their future plans.

Deadlines:

  • June 15 (for school-year afterschool programs)
  • August 1 (for summer programs)

Six winning videos (3 videos from each category) will receive:

  1. An award of $1,000
  2. Recognition at a national STEM Summit in September 2015 in Washington D.C.
  3. The opportunity to work with media consultant Mobile Digital Arts to edit and refine submissions for broader dissemination

Visit www.stemvideocompetition.org for more information about the competition and video guidelines.

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learn more about: Science Arts