Archives:

Select:

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

READ FULL STORY

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can apply to the future of STEM learning.

The current state of STEM

Citizen science is an evergreen tool for meaningfully connecting youth with nature. Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic and widespread school closures, it’s never been more important to help youth feel knowledgeable and informed about how the environment works—and see science as the means to understand. Children stuck at home are experiencing reduced access to environmental learning and parents and educators feel pressure to highlight the outdoors as a safe, exciting place to learn. Out-of-school time partners are concerned roughly 11 million youth could miss engagement in OST and STEM programs by December 2020. Research consistently points to nature-based learning as a direct line to increasing pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors. Science Action Club (SAC) capitalizes on this opportunity by using citizen science to connect youth and families to nature, wherever they are. 

Science Action Club’s pathway

Listening

The key to SAC’s success and national growth is grounded in our practice of listening to our out-of-school time partners. We facilitate annual evaluations, host calls and webinars, and actively contribute to important industry conversations. During the pandemic, this necessary practice allows us to learn about the unprecedented fears, challenges, and needs in OST. 

Integrating

Our team, guided by what we’ve heard from our partners, embarked on programmatic shifts that were grounded in these truths: 

  • OST programs and families want connections to the outdoors through nature-based STEM learning.
  • Agencies are following highly localized shelter-in-place or reopening plans that mean program implementation varies by state, county, and even city.
  • SAC’s curricula and training are valuable in getting youth outdoors, but our partners need flexible, creative support.

Innovation

SAC partners heard the call! One Washington-based program ran a fully virtual SAC program called Cloud Quest and adapted the SAC sport-based games for Kahoot. By sending SAC kit materials home ahead of time, the program was able to do the hands-on activities together on Zoom:

“The hands-on activities were a big hit. The students especially enjoyed making clouds, satellites, and rockets. Don't be afraid of the silence while students are building their projects. The students are engaged and will come up with amazing creations. I recommend having a place for student work to be shared.”

Library systems have re-packaged SAC Bug Safari kits into take-home packets used at meal distributions sites and housing centers, where families in need of extra support can easily share this science-rich excitement with their young learners. Additionally, using the SAC online training, partner libraries had their teen librarians create multi-media videos that paired with the distributed kits and helped home-based caregivers lead STEM activities with joy and confidence.

Recommendations for connecting students to nature virtually

First, using citizen science, afterschool programs learn to view nature as a resource that can be accessed anywhere, from rural communities to the most densely packed cities. If your youth are learning at home, bring them to a window or stoop to observe nature at different times during the day. Secondly, programs should partner with providers, like the California Academy of Science’s Academy @ Home project or the National Covid-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, that prioritize STEM and outdoor learning specifically in afterschool and are eager to make your programs a success. 

The Million Girls Moonshot is launching its inaugural Flight Crew!

The Flight Crew is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. We are looking for young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/22

January resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Quality Trainings Audience: For programs and program staff in your state Share with Network STEM Staff, Key Partners, and Program Leaders in your state interested in becoming Dimensions of Success Certified. More information found here. Dimensions of Success (DoS) Certification...

BY: Chris Neitzey      01/14/22

December Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

December brings us the opportunity to reflect on our successes and explore how we might do more as we head into a new year. Below we bring you the December assets from the Million Girls Moonshot, and encourage you to share these resources with your networks and partners. If you are interested in...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/20/21

CyberStart America: A free computer science/cybersecurity program for afterschool

By Kate Straus, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. The digitized and online world we now live in has revolutionized how we work, seek entertainment, stay informed and connect with each other. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized how cyber criminals can target us! Whether temporarily...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/03/21

November resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Photo courtesy of Million Girls Moonshot Below are the November resources from Million Girls Moonshot. This month’s asset package includes resources to share and utilize related to the four transformative practices: equity and inclusion, engineering mindsets, role models, mentors and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/19/21

Share your ideas for advancing equity in Science and Technology with the White House

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently issued a challenge to engage the American public around one essential question - “How can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?” The Time is Now:...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/05/21

Webinar recap: Back to afterschool with STEM

America After 3PM (AA3PM) data finds that the number of children with access to afterschool STEM learning has dropped as barriers to participating in afterschool programs have increased. This school year poses an opportunity for afterschool programs to implement STEM and re-engage students with...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/18/21

Upcoming STEM opportunities from Million Girls Moonshot

Teen Science Cafe The Teen Science Cafe is an opportunity for youth in rural areas to engage in conversations around STEM with each other and with a scientist, engineer, or inventor. Uniquely fitted to afterschool and out-of-school time programs, the goal of the Teen Science Cafe is to garner...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/30/21

Engineer for the Week Fall Sprint is now open for registration!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/02/21

August resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to relaunch the Moonshot and plan for capacity building events in their community. As programs head back to in person programming, this is an excellent opportunity to...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/30/21

The Million Girls Moonshot is launching its inaugural Flight Crew!

The Flight Crew is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. We are looking for young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/22

January resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Quality Trainings Audience: For programs and program staff in your state Share with Network STEM Staff, Key Partners, and Program Leaders in your state interested in becoming Dimensions of Success Certified. More information found here. Dimensions of Success (DoS) Certification...

BY: Chris Neitzey      01/14/22

December Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

December brings us the opportunity to reflect on our successes and explore how we might do more as we head into a new year. Below we bring you the December assets from the Million Girls Moonshot, and encourage you to share these resources with your networks and partners. If you are interested in...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/20/21

November resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Photo courtesy of Million Girls Moonshot Below are the November resources from Million Girls Moonshot. This month’s asset package includes resources to share and utilize related to the four transformative practices: equity and inclusion, engineering mindsets, role models, mentors and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/19/21

Upcoming STEM opportunities from Million Girls Moonshot

Teen Science Cafe The Teen Science Cafe is an opportunity for youth in rural areas to engage in conversations around STEM with each other and with a scientist, engineer, or inventor. Uniquely fitted to afterschool and out-of-school time programs, the goal of the Teen Science Cafe is to garner...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/30/21

August resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to relaunch the Moonshot and plan for capacity building events in their community. As programs head back to in person programming, this is an excellent opportunity to...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/30/21

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

June resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Summer has set in across the country and that means the #SummerOfSTEM has officially kicked off. This month’s resources focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to implement STEM into summer programming. As programs across the country slowly head back to hybrid and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      06/29/21

April resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from Million Girls Moonshot continue the theme around role models and mentors, with new assets from the IF/THEN collection. April signifies the celebration of Earth Day and you’ll find a few Earth Day themed resources below. Please feel free to share these...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/30/21

March resources from Million Girls Moonshot

March is here, and while that may signal spring for some, it also means new resources from the Million Girls Moonshot! This month’s resources will continue a focus on diverse role models and how afterschool programs can incorporate STEM role models into programming efforts. You’ll find...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/15/21

The Million Girls Moonshot is launching its inaugural Flight Crew!

The Flight Crew is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. We are looking for young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/22

January resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Quality Trainings Audience: For programs and program staff in your state Share with Network STEM Staff, Key Partners, and Program Leaders in your state interested in becoming Dimensions of Success Certified. More information found here. Dimensions of Success (DoS) Certification...

BY: Chris Neitzey      01/14/22

December Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

December brings us the opportunity to reflect on our successes and explore how we might do more as we head into a new year. Below we bring you the December assets from the Million Girls Moonshot, and encourage you to share these resources with your networks and partners. If you are interested in...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/20/21

CyberStart America: A free computer science/cybersecurity program for afterschool

By Kate Straus, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. The digitized and online world we now live in has revolutionized how we work, seek entertainment, stay informed and connect with each other. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized how cyber criminals can target us! Whether temporarily...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/03/21

November resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Photo courtesy of Million Girls Moonshot Below are the November resources from Million Girls Moonshot. This month’s asset package includes resources to share and utilize related to the four transformative practices: equity and inclusion, engineering mindsets, role models, mentors and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/19/21

Upcoming STEM opportunities from Million Girls Moonshot

Teen Science Cafe The Teen Science Cafe is an opportunity for youth in rural areas to engage in conversations around STEM with each other and with a scientist, engineer, or inventor. Uniquely fitted to afterschool and out-of-school time programs, the goal of the Teen Science Cafe is to garner...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/30/21

Engineer for the Week Fall Sprint is now open for registration!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/02/21

August resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to relaunch the Moonshot and plan for capacity building events in their community. As programs head back to in person programming, this is an excellent opportunity to...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/30/21

June resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Summer has set in across the country and that means the #SummerOfSTEM has officially kicked off. This month’s resources focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to implement STEM into summer programming. As programs across the country slowly head back to hybrid and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      06/29/21

April resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from Million Girls Moonshot continue the theme around role models and mentors, with new assets from the IF/THEN collection. April signifies the celebration of Earth Day and you’ll find a few Earth Day themed resources below. Please feel free to share these...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/30/21

CyberStart America: A free computer science/cybersecurity program for afterschool

By Kate Straus, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. The digitized and online world we now live in has revolutionized how we work, seek entertainment, stay informed and connect with each other. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized how cyber criminals can target us! Whether temporarily...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/03/21

Engineer for the Week Fall Sprint is now open for registration!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/02/21

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

April resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from Million Girls Moonshot continue the theme around role models and mentors, with new assets from the IF/THEN collection. April signifies the celebration of Earth Day and you’ll find a few Earth Day themed resources below. Please feel free to share these...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/30/21

March resources from Million Girls Moonshot

March is here, and while that may signal spring for some, it also means new resources from the Million Girls Moonshot! This month’s resources will continue a focus on diverse role models and how afterschool programs can incorporate STEM role models into programming efforts. You’ll find...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/15/21

CORAL Expanded Learning Program helps children from underprivileged neighborhoods get STEM-ready for high school

By Nisha Shanmugam Kokilam, STEM Program Supervisor, CORAL Expanded Learning Program, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. CORAL supports narrowing the opportunity gap in accessing STEM in the underprivileged neighborhoods of San Jose by offering free, innovative and high-quality programs...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/02/21

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/18/20

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

CORAL Expanded Learning Program helps children from underprivileged neighborhoods get STEM-ready for high school

By Nisha Shanmugam Kokilam, STEM Program Supervisor, CORAL Expanded Learning Program, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. CORAL supports narrowing the opportunity gap in accessing STEM in the underprivileged neighborhoods of San Jose by offering free, innovative and high-quality programs...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/02/21

What does a new president and Congress mean for afterschool STEM?

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, marking the beginning of a four-year term with the pandemic still front and center in the eyes of policymakers and the general public. The first steps for President Biden and Congress have been aimed at getting a handle on the pandemic, which...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/16/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

From the STEM field: An innovative model to deliver STEM learning to under-served youth during the COVID-19 era

By Stephen White, Vice President of External Affairs, Strategic Initiatives, and Business Development and Allie Greiwe, Director of External Affairs at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, OH. This blog is a continuation of our series of case studies examining how informal STEM...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/10/20

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/26/20

New report shows severe loss of capacity for outdoor and environmental science education

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders have stressed the opportunity for families to get outside and learn more about their natural surroundings. The opportunities to observe migratory patterns of birds, grow fruits and vegetables at home or in community gardens, and simply learn more about the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      06/12/20

Bringing STEM learning home during social distancing

These are difficult times for so many of our young people and their families. With school closures impacting families across the country, and extracurricular activities put on hold, finding ways for students to stay busy and engaged is likely at the top of mind for parents and guardians....

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/19/20

Share your ideas for advancing equity in Science and Technology with the White House

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently issued a challenge to engage the American public around one essential question - “How can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?” The Time is Now:...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/05/21

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Free STEM learning opportunity: Facebook's Engineer for the Week!

We are excited to invite you to join Engineer for the Week's Fall 2020 Sprint! It runs from October 5 to December 4, 2020. Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/14/20