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STEM Snacks
APR
29

STEM
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Imagine Science campaign celebrates nationwide launch in Orange County

By Sophie Papavizas

Four of the nation’s largest youth organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, National 4-H Council, YMCA of the USA and Girls Inc. recently launched their joint Imagine Science campaign.  Collectively, these organizations reach 18 million youth in every state and territory and have the potential to reach millions of underrepresented youth through enriching STEM experiences.  Imagine Science was also listed as a commitment by the four organizations to the White House’s Educate to Innovate campaign, a nationwide public-private partnership to prepare students at every level for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Leveraging the expertise of the organizations involved, Imagine Science will be a multifaceted project bringing mobile STEM labs to large audiences, hosting 1-2 day STEM Challenges and Expos, running summer camps, and engaging youth with one of the partner organizations during the school year.  This year, a pilot summer program will be rolled out in three cities, Dallas, TX, Omaha, NE, and Orange County, CA.  This past weekend, the campaign’s first event took place, consisting of a booth at the Imaginology Youth Expo at the Orange County Fair organized by the pilot program in Orange County.  Youth had the opportunity to take part in a booth called “Happy City Construction” constructing paper buildings that could be hooked up to the ‘grid’ of the imaginary city.

You can view pictures from the event on the Imagine Science OC Twitter and Instagram pages and join the Imagine Science mailing list here.

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learn more about: Science Community Partners
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APR
27

STEM
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Celebrating our own Anita Krishnamurthi, an innovator in STEM!

By Jodi Grant

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently recognized a select group of innovators for their 2015 “Most Influential in STEM” awards. Among them is our very own Vice President of STEM Policy, Anita Krishnamurthi!

For these awards, NAA pulled together a diverse group—from higher education, museums, industry, the government, and the non-profit world—who have brought STEM education in afterschool to new levels of creativity and are making a difference in students’ learning.

Anita is a passionate advocate of afterschool STEM, and since joining the Afterschool Alliance, she has played a tremendous role in creating a space for afterschool within national policy discussions and building national partnerships that support the development of high-quality STEM programming. Fun fact: she’s actually an astrophysicist and worked for many years at NASA doing education and public outreach. We are incredibly proud of the work she’s accomplished to better connect the afterschool and STEM communities.  With her STEM background and her infectious enthusiasm for afterschool, it’s no surprise that she’s been so successful in helping bridge the afterschool and STEM communities. 

At the Afterschool Alliance, Anita leads our STEM team on projects that address critical challenges in the afterschool field. The current project she’s most excited to be working on is our “Afterschool STEM Advocacy, Communications and Messaging Hub,” where we’ve brought together afterschool leaders to produce research-based messaging and resources that best tells the story of afterschool STEM.  Anita believes that the field is at a unique moment in time when practice, research, and policy are poised to come together.  She is very hopeful that this initiative will not only increase public understanding of the importance of afterschool, but also translate into broad support and public investments. We’ll be debuting these resources in fall 2015! 

Check out Anita and the full list of STEM influencers in the spring 2015 issue of AfterSchool Today.

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learn more about: Science
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APR
23

STEM
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Guest blog: New informal STEM professional development resource now available

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Lindsay Bartolone is Lead for the Informal Education Working Group of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach Forums as well as a co-investigator on two of the forums: Astrophysics and Heliophysics.

Afterschool professionals consistently rank professional development as one of their major needs.  The Informal Education Working Group of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach Forums conducted a nationwide survey of the professional development and resource needs of informal science educators to determine 1) how, when, where, and for how long informal educators prefer to receive STEM professional development and 2) what kind of workshops and materials they need and can use with their audiences.  This information was collected to inform NASA education and public outreach programs and resource development for the informal education community, but the findings are applicable beyond NASA.

Anita Krishnamurthi from the Afterschool Alliance serves on this working group and we tried to ensure that the afterschool voice was represented in this effort.  The survey was distributed widely to the afterschool community and your responses are included in the report.   

The results of this survey are now publicly available, and available for your reference as you prepare resources or professional development opportunities for the informal educators you serve.

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science
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APR
22

STEM
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New Department of Education post highlights STEM in afterschool programs

By Sophie Papavizas

A new blog post by the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education highlights the new and expanding partnerships between 21st Century Community Learning Centers and STEM-rich federal agencies. 21st Century Community Learning Centers in states across the country are partnering with NASA to complete challenges based on the Summer of Innovation, with the National Park Service to take part in hands-on biology and ecology projects and with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to provide maker-focused curriculum to students.  We previously wrote about the partnerships in a February 3rd blog post.

The post is written by Ellen Lettvin, the Robert Noyce Senior Fellow in Informal STEM Learning—click here to check it out.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Department of Education Science
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APR
21

STEM
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Join Click2SciencePD & NGCP for the Connecting with Community Partners webinar

By Rachel Clark

With the launch of The Connectory, it's easier than ever for STEM program providers to connect and collaborate.  Since we know that high levels of collaboration increase program capacity and thus increase STEM opportunities for youth, this is a critical advance for the field.  However, collaborating and developing partnerships are skills that take work and training to do effectively—to make the most of this new resource, join the National Girls Collaborative Project and Click2SciencePD for the "Connecting with Community Partners" webinar on Thursday, April 23 at 11:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. ET).

The webinar will guide participants through using The Connectory to find partners in their community.  Additionally, it will introduce participants to best practices for partnership building by exploring Click2SciencePD's wealth of professional development resources.

Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT (2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET)

Location: Online – Connection details will be provided upon confirmation

Don't miss this valuable opportunity to learn about strengthening your program through collaboration and partnership building: Sign up now!

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Science Youth Development Community Partners
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APR
20

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
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APR
15

STEM
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Connect & collaborate with STEM programs through The Connectory!

By Rachel Clark

With the launch of The Connectory, it's easier than ever for kids to connect with STEM programs and opportunities, and for STEM practitioners to collaborate, develop partnerships, and share resources.  This free online collaboration tool gives STEM program providers a chance to find partners based on interests as well as a platform to showcase STEM opportunities to families.  Families, in turn, have a free, go-to resource to connect the children in their lives to STEM learning opportunities in their community.

More than 5,000 programs in all 50 states are already included in the database, representing a full range of topics in STEM, including coding for girls, robotics competitions and science summer camps.  Add your program today to showcase your work, connect to families and partners, and share information and ideas with fellow practitioners!  

To learn more about The Connectory and connecting with community partners in general, join the National Girls Collaborative Project and Click2SciencePD for the Connecting with Community Partners webinar on April 23 at 11AM PDT (2PM EDT).

The Connectory was made possible by support from Time Warner Cable and is managed by the team behind the National Girls Collaborative, in collaboration with Association of Science Technology Centers, Afterschool Alliance, Educational Development Center, Inc., Maker Education, the National Afterschool Association, and Zozude.  Help make the connections for youth to discover STEM: register your program today.

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MAR
24

STEM
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White House Science Fair features afterschool

By Sophie Papavizas

Yesterday, March 23, the White House hosted the 5th annual White House Science Fair, featuring 35 projects presented by students underrepresented in STEM fields and the release of private-sector commitments to support President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign.  Amongst the students presenting were students participating in the FIRST Robotics program, including the “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team from Daisy Girl Scouts troop 411 in Tulsa, OK, who came up with the idea for a battery-powered page turner to help people with disabilities that have trouble turning a page.  One young computer scientist, Anvita Gupta, used machine learning to teach a computer to identify potential new drugs for cancer, tuberculosis and Ebola.  She also founded an afterschool computer science club for middle school girls.  For more information about all the students participating, check out the Science Fair’s website.

In a press release, the White House also announced commitments totaling $240 million from corporations, universities and foundations to the Educate to Innovate campaign to support STEM learning.  This brings the total campaign commitments to $1 billion over the last five years.  Here are some of the commitments focused on supporting informal STEM learning opportunities:

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