Post Paige Azcona

Collaborate to Innovate
A resource designed to facilitate K-12 and expanded learning collaboration for quality STEM learning

The Next Generation Science Standards work group of the CAN STEM Committee recently released Collaborate to Innovate: Advance Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards Through K-12 and Expanded Learning Program Partnerships. Collaborate to Innovate describes the opportunities for collaboration created by new K-12 standards and the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs in California. The document outlines specific strategies and resources to support K-12 and expanded learning collaboration to advance high-quality STEM learning. Access Collaborate to Innovate. 


Expanded Learning STEM Quality Elements
A Framework for Quality STEM Learning in Expanded Learning Programs

This document addresses the questions:

  • Why should I implement STEM in my expanded learning program?
  • How do you define and describe what Quality STEM Learning looks like in expanded learning contexts?

Quality STEM in expanded learning reflects elements of quality for expanded learning and informal STEM learning programs. Expanded Learning STEM Quality Elements provide a common framework for quality STEM learning in Expanded Learning Programs. The Expanded Learning STEM Quality Elements are described as actions that can be taken at the programmatic, staff, and participant levels of the program. They were intentionally arranged in these three sections to map to the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California.


Assessment and Planning Tool for STEM in Expanded Learning Programs

High quality STEM in OST is engaging and enriching for youth and can be a valuable professional development opportunity for staff. Taking time to get clear about how STEM supports your program’s goals, and how your staff will be supported in leading STEM activities will help to ensure success. Strong STEM programs need big picture STEM learning goals that are linked to the program goals and/or school goals. Use this tool as part of a process of continuous quality improvement to assist you in developing and reaching your STEM goals. The purpose of the Assessment and Planning Tool for STEM in Expanded Learning Programs is to help programs assess existing STEM learning opportunities and assets, determine where you are on the OST program STEM pathway and identify next steps to move along the pathway, and develop your STEM program plan. 


NASA’s Climate Kids Releases New Educational Game

NASA’s Climate Kids has released a new educational game ‘OFFSET!,’ where kids will learn about greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide as they balance COsources with CO“sinks” in order to balance gas emissions. NASA Climate Kids is an easy-to-use and interactive website which educates students about current environmental issues and the importance of recycling and climate change awareness.

For more information, and to check out the game, click here


Engineering Adventures Releases New After School Unit: “Sky’s the Limit”

Check out Engineering Adventures and Engineering is Elementary (EiE)’s newest after school learning unit called “Sky’s the Limit.” This hands-on unit, targeted for grades 3-5, focuses on the field of aeronautical engineering and includes 8 lessons that are 45-minutes each. The free program also includes an educator guide, engineering journal, and online resources that support both the educators as well as the students. Download the unit for free to provide students with an interactive lesson on engineering.


Curriculum and Professional Development for OST Science Education

Check out the National Institute of Out-of-School Time’s article “Curriculum and Professional Development for OST Science Education – Lessons Learned from California 4-H” to learn about pedagogical skills and resources necessary to support science literacy for youth. Grounded in literature and research, this article introduces essential professional development models to educators in the field in order to promote the best practices in science education.


Click 2 SciencePD: Creating Moments that Click! is an interactive professional development site for trainers, coaches, site directors, and frontline staff/volunteers in expanded learning programs implementing STEM programming. Click2Science has identified 20 Skills to Make STEM Click and created a variety of professional development modules to help improve the quality of STEM learning opportunities. Check out Click2Science’s new professional development skill, Group Management During STEM, to learn about maintaining a positive and engaging environment for learning during STEM activities!


FUSE: Next Generation Brief Provides Strategies for Integrating NGSS

TASC, Every Hour Counts, and ORGE Innovation Consulting has released an informational brief FUSE: Next Generation that offers educators promising practices for integrating NGSS curriculum through real-world interactive science experiences. STEM educators will learn how to support social and emotional learning in children in order to improve academic outcomes. The brief, which outlines a new instructional approach to science learning aims to make the alignment of STEM education and  NGSS principles more cohesive in both formal and informal settings.


The Ultimate STEM Guide for Kids: 239 Cool Sites About Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Master’s in Data Science provides a comprehensive guide to the growing field of data science. The website features in-depth guides to show how data science is used in various industries, a comprehensive director of data science and related graduate degree programs, and more. The ultimate STEM guide is a resource to increase a child’s interest in STEM-related fields. We have compiled over 236 helpful websites for kids and broken them down by age level and interest. The guide focuses on camps, challenges/contests, government initiatives, and more.


Torlakson Announces New Guidance for High School Common Core Math Materials

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson recently announced the release of the new Standards Maps for Higher Mathematics, a resourceful guide for educators to use to evaluate mathematics education that aligns with Common Core. Torlakson underscores the importance of high-quality math education when preparing kids for future college and career paths and believes that this guide is a valuable tool to help teachers link their mathematics lessons to everyday life as well as the Common Core standards.


Paper on Afterschool STEM Outcomes Released

The Noyce Foundation has released their latest paper entitled “Examining the Impact of Afterschool STEM Programs” outlining the positive impacts that implementing STEM in after school can have on children. This paper features recent research findings that reveal that STEM in after school successfully engages students and stimulates interests in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Additionally, after school STEM programs help youth prepare for future career paths in the rapidly increasing STEM fields.


Tom Torlakson Releases Blueprint to Improve Teaching of STEM in CA

Because high-quality education in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math are critical in preparing students for college and future careers, state schools chief Tom Torlakson’s STEM Task Force developed a Blueprint for STEM. This report, titled: Innovate: A Blueprint for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in California Public Education, identifies seven general areas to focus on in STEM education in California


STELAR Website Launched

The STEM Learning and Research Center (STELAR) is proud to announce the release of their new website after transitioning from their old ITEST Learning Resource Center (LRC). This website, which features monthly content themes and updates on current projects, hosts much of the same content from the old website. Additionally, the STELAR website hosts upcoming events and recent news to keep students and teachers up to date on the latest STEM research topics. 


Click2Science Launches a New Skill to Make STEM Click: Supporting Testing and Retesting

Click2Science has recently developed an organizational tool called “Supporting Testing and Retesting,” which includes modules, videos, trainings, and activities which encourage kids to learn by looking at their  past experiences and failures to improve and change results. This customizable skill set asks youth open-ended questions like “What would happen if…” to help kids dig deeper and learn the core problems of science standards instead of just the content. By teaching kids to test and retest, this tool encourages youth to make careful observations and modify the design.


Click2Science Professional Development Program

Check out the Click2Science Professional Development Resource which teaches after school staff how to integrate STEM into out-of-school time curriculum. This great resource outlines 20 “Skills to Make STEM Click” which target professional development to improve STEM learning experiences for youth. Additionally, the resource includes training and coaching videos for frontline staff. The resource program is completely free, but registration is required.