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Programs across the USA are gearing up for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

By Robert Abare

Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday, 16 top student “Math Champs” from the Bay Area and Sacramento will put their math knowledge to the test in a special NBA Math Hoops tournament. 

The Warriors' Klay Thompson plays a game of NBA Math Hoops with a student. Photo via NBA Math Hoops on Instagram.

NBA Math Hoops is a board game and curriculum that teaches kids math skills through a lens they know and love—basketball! Learn Fresh, a program provider that involves more than 10,000 students across 15 states, uses NBA Math Hoops to teach students critical math skills they need to succeed. Students and sites participating in NBA Math Hoops are rewarded for excellent performance with apparel, NBA game tickets and experiences with NBA players.

Last year, participating Math Champs solved more than 9 million math problems, and 64 percent improved their test scores!

Now you can educate your community about the value of including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences after school with tools from a new online course from FrameWorks Academy: “Making the Case for STEM Learning.” The course is free for a limited time, sign up today!

See how sites across the country are preparing to celebrate Lights On 2016:

Orlando, Florida: Supported by a grant from Bright House Networks, the Orlando Science Center will bring their Science Festival to Conway Middle School for their “Lights On For Superhero Fun” celebration. STEM-themed activities include the “Destination STEM: Engineering Roller Coasters” workshop, which teaches kids about engineering and modeling as they design and build their own rollercoasters, and “KaBOOM! Live,” an exciting physical science presentation with lessons on the varying states of matter.

Brandon, Vermont: The Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union’s SOAR afterschool program will live up to its name—literally!—with a special presentation from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science featuring live birds of prey. During “Raptor Encounter,” kids at the Neshobe School will learn more about hawks, falcons and owls and how they interact with the natural environment.

Winter, Wisconsin: The Winter Warriors afterschool program of the School District of Winter will host a healthy fall dinner celebration for Lights On Afterschool, using fruits and vegetables grown in a local garden along with homemade jellies, applesauce and pumpkin deserts. The program is also partnering with Play 60 and the Wisconsin Milk Board to provide students and families with health and nutrition education, featuring a cheese and skim milk tasting. Event-goers can also try out a calorie-burning “Smoothie Bicycle” that uses human power to make fresh fruit smoothies!

Bellflower, California: The Bellflower Unified School District’s project APPLE (Afterschool Programming Promoting Learning and Enrichment) will continue its fourth year of partnering with the American Heart Association in the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser. Students at multiple APPLE sites will engage in heart healthy activities while learning about the importance of staying active and helping others.

Miami, Florida: The After-School All-Stars of Miami is hosting a jam-packed Lights On Afterschool celebration! The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. with a softball game at Kinloch Park Middle School between All-Star participants and the Miami Marlins! After the game, Chef Leonardo La Cava will lead a healthy cooking and meatball rolling contest to teach kids about nutritious eating habits. Capping of this jam-packed evening of activities, Florida Power & Light will lead students in a robotics course, and a the news crew from Fox Sports Florida will lead junior broadcasting interviews.