By Juliana Texley
Afterschool Programs Step Up as Key Partners in STEM Education.
A groundbreaking survey report has documented the clear advantages of afterschool STEM. The report, America after 3 PM: Full STEM Ahead focuses on four of the nation’s largest youth-serving organizations, 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Girls Inc., and YMCA, that have recently launched “Imagine Science,” an initiative which aspires to reach millions. The report covers both the expansion of traditional programs and innovative collaborations.
According to the survey, a majority of children in afterschool programs in these organizations’ programs are offered STEM learning opportunities. Seven in 10 parents (69%) report that their child is offered STEM learning opportunities in their afterschool program, which equates to approximately seven million children who have access to afterschool STEM.
Parents of children from low-income families express higher support for afterschool STEM programs than more affluent parents. Low-income families place a higher emphasis on STEM when selecting their child’s afterschool program.
With increasing recognition that STEM is a natural fit for afterschool programs, the report also recognizes a broadened base for evaluating the results of those programs. including not just academic, but social goals.
Read more at http://afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/STEM.pdf
STEM Brief: Arts Improved Our Soft Skills
Reporting at the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Public Sector Summit in Washington in June 2019, six students documented how studying the arts as well as “soft skills” were keys to success in their STEM fields. Courses such as acting help STEM professionals communicate with teams. One key point made: “… humanities courses, most importantly ethics, are key to those looking to enter tech fields so they can ground themselves in understanding how their inventions, research and discoveries will play a role in the world.”
Read more at https://www.educationdive.com/news/stem-students-arts-improved-our-soft-skills/557013/
Encouraging Creativity in STEM Class
In the July issue of NSTA Reports, Deb Shapiro describes efforts to make STEM topics more engaging, from scientific Haiku to the integration of historical background into college chemistry lessons. The report also provides information on how robotics and physics links can be expanded to provide more relevance for students, and the potential of creative play in STEM. Summarizing one example of an interdisciplinary unit on disease communicability, Gigi Carunungan describes the value of using broadly based contexts for traditional lessons: “Students remember [the content] because it’s emotional. Emotional memory is more powerful than content memory in this case because the students have so much fun.”
Read more at: http://static.nsta.org/pdfs/nstareports/nstareports201907.pdf