The After-school Alliance recently released data on after-school STEM Clubs.
Their report, titled "Full STEM Ahead", makes the following recommendations:
This is great news for kids. But now, teachers are left to create STEM curriculum for their after-school clubs. This can be especially difficult for teachers who teach all day and don't have time to scour the internet for lessons. There are many great programs out there. Here are a few of my favorites:
- engaging & educating parents about the importance of afterschool STEM
- increasing technology and engineering programming
- strengthening & increasing STEM community partnerships
- improving assessment measures; and
- increasing investment in afterschool programs. (Full STEM Ahead)
Engineering is Elementary (EIE) has a mission to "support educators and children with curricula and professional development that develops engineering literacy" (eie.org) Personally, I have worked with EIE for years and have found it very user-friendly. In fact, I am honored to say I have been chosen by EIE to pilot a new unit this fall (available for download next year).
EIE offers many products, but specifically for this purpose, they have after-school curriculum. Engineering Adventures is a FREE after-school curriculum for grades 3-5. Engineering Everywhere is a FREE after-school curriculum for middle and high school students.
Students meet two characters, Indie and Jacob, and help them solve problems around the world. The curriculum has intro lessons if your students are new to engineering. Each lesson has an audio file (or the new ones have videos) that capture your students' attention and guide them through activities. Many of the lessons have optional online components. In addition to downloading the FREE teacher guide, you can also download a FREE student journal, where students are encouraged to diagram their designs and work through the engineering design process. The only cost you may incur is for supplies, but you will find that you have many of the supplies already lying around your classroom/school. If not, many are household items that the students can bring to school.
DIY.org is not an official after-school STEM curriculum. However, I have used their challenges for out-of-school learning.
I recently wrote a blog post on DIY.org. They have a bazillion challenges for students. Students choose which ones appeal to them and work towards those goals. When they complete the challenge, they can purchase a badge (yes, a real badge) for $4.
DIY.org also offers "camps". Camps cost about $10 each. However, if you can get $5 off when you use this link: https://goo.gl/MBkRKK
This type of curriculum is a more "maker space" type of curriculum. With DIY.org, students are engaged in engineering solutions. Interestingly enough, EIE released an interesting article yesterday regarding science scores when students engineer. Click here to read the article.
Along the same lines as DIY.org is Design Squad and Instructables.
Right now, you can get into Mystery Science for FREE. I have used the magnetism lesson with my students and it was so easy to project the slide show.
The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence (AzCASE) has links to many other FREE STEM Club resources. You do not need to be based in Arizona to take advantage of these opportunities.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. In fact, if you know of a great resource that should be added, please email me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com and I will add it.