Afterschool Providers Explore STEM Resources

The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance is expanding our work with afterschool providers, after more than 20 years of professional development work primarily with educators within the school system. Our Remote Coaching for Afterschool Educators project, funded by the Noyce Foundation, is just one of the projects in which we work with afterschool.

To better serve this audience, MMSA gathered about 20 afterschool providers from across the state for a discussion of STEM resources in afterschool settings, as well as their current professional development needs.

The “Exploring STEM Resources in afterschool settings” agenda included presentations of afterschool program resources in STEM topics, input from 21st Century Community Learing Center (CCLC) and other afterschool providers, and tours of some online places to find great activities.

MMSA’s director of research Sue Allen led the meeting. After MMSA’s executive director Ruth Kermish-Allen framed the event and welcomed the guests, the afterschool representatives talked about their programs, and then MMSA staff members presented various STEM resources.

Lynn Farrin shared HowToSmile.org, an online databank of STEM activities. Jan Mokros took the participants through a math activity and discussed how to incorporate math more deeply into activities in a variety of ways. Joyce Tugel introduced the remote coaching project, which will use Click2Science.org, and led an activity to show how easy it is to take videos and share them.

Sue Allen, Lisa Marchi, Stefany Burrell, and Jo Gates gave very brief presentations on evaluation, engineering activities, the Maine State Science Fair, and MMSA’s Maine STEM Resource Bank, respectively.

“It was an excellent meeting, and we heard so many different perspectives and capacities. It was really inspiring,” said Sue Allen. “Our organization has so much to showcase, both our own resources, and those from other organizations and on the web that we’ve come across over the years and know to be of high quality.”

Each participant was asked to fill out a survey about the professional development interests and needs of their programs. The event wrapped up with small-group discussions based on interests.

“This is just the beginning of an exciting exploration together with afterschool partners,” said Sue Allen. “We’re learning and sharing, and STEM in afterschool programs in Maine can only benefit from this.”

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